Monday, 26 October 2015

Canva Review - Using Canva to Create Awesome Infographics

Creating Infographics is a great way to get noticed and to get more social media attention. People love great graphics and easy to understand information. Infographics give you the best of both worlds and allow you to create shareable, linkable content that provides value to your followers.

Don't forget to visit us at The Online Business Expert for more.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

10 Mistakes Not To Make: Be An Online Expert

     Starting your own online business begins with deciding you need to make a change. Businesses that thrive online do so because they were started with this in mind. Whether the change you want to make is in your own life, the life of others or both it is this that drives success online.

     While the barriers to building an online income are quite low nowadays, the majority of people who start an online business still tend to fail, or at the very best make marginal profits.

     A lot of the heartache and struggle can be taken out of generating solid leads and marketing your chosen products though if you learn to avoid mistakes that in hindsight often seem obvious.

     So what are the key mistakes that people who fail or who merely struggle along make?

1. Losing Yourself In Details:

     One of the first things that any good business coach will tell you is that you need to get your business off the ground. In the beginning you just need to be making a profit, even if it is a tiny return it gives you the traction you need to keep pushing forward.

     The reason this is the number one issue facing new Online Marketers is that all too many of us get bogged down in, and sidetracked by the small, often cosmetic details that we can come back to once we have the time and freedom to do so.

     The real secret here is that it doesn't need to be perfect it just needs to be functional. So stop fiddling with your company logo, your branding and your website and start creating content and making a name for yourself.

2. Not Spending Your Money Wisely:

     The next thing your mentor is going to tell you is that if you want results you are going to have to shell out for good training and good advertising.
While you can make it online without spending a cent it is going to take you a long time and you are going to spend long hours banging your head against the proverbial brick wall, not to mention making many of the common mistakes that come from lack of knowledge about the industry.

     The best advice I have ever been given by anyone about this business is that anything you spend either in training or on failed advertising is an investment in yourself as a marketer. The only real caveat to this is that you are far better spending that money wisely on good training than throwing it away on bad advertising.

3. Selling Trinkets To Stay Afloat:

     Most of the people you see floating around online trying to sell you something are only just making their way. The main reasons for this are not lack of effort or lack of audience but are down to a lack of quality.

     High quality products usually provide you with a higher profit margin and also build the trust of your leads. After all if someone sends you an email every day trying to sell you junk you are likely to stop listening. If on the other hand they provide you with valuable information and only ever present you with high quality value added products and services you are far more likely to listen to what they have to say.

     One of the best ways to secure high end products is to get involved with groups that are already operating at a high level such as the Six Figure Mentors.

4. Not Knowing Where You Are Going:

     I don't know how many times I have heard variations on the refrain of "Marketing without knowing your product or audience is like trying to drive a car blindfolded". Basically the only possible result is that you are going to crash and it is going to hurt.

     To pull another great quote on this subject, adapted from the famous Art of War by Sun Tzu "Know thy market, but know not thy audience, find defeat in every campaign. Know not thy market, but know thy audience, find victory and defeat in equal measure. Know thy market and know thy audience, and thou shall never fear failure again".

     With access to so much data on so many platforms there is no longer any excuse for not knowing who your customers are and what they want from you.

5. Selling Without Serving:

     One of the great problems posed by the internet is the fact that it makes it all too easy to sell someone a dud product, take the profit and disappear into the night. Because of this customers are becoming more and more wary and are, very sensibly, beginning to do real research before choosing not only what to buy, but also who to buy it from.

     With this in mind it is imperative for those that want to be more than a flash in the pan that they provide great customer service, great content and great value. If a customer likes what they see and how they are treated they will come back, and, chance are they will bring their friends.

     Remember that the meteoric rise in Social Media means that a bad review can get around the internet pretty fast and a good one may keep sending you prospects for a long time to come.

6. Giving Away The Product Instead Of Generating Value:

     Personally I am a great believer in the mantra that providing good value to your clients and customers is the best way to do business. It is also true that a well constructed and useful piece of content can snag you a loyal long-term prospect.

     The flip side of this though is that many people spend so much time or effort nursing possible prospects to a sale, either with time, gifts or extras that the sale then provides negative ROI or at the very least a massive drain on your valuable time.

     The real secret here is to strike a balance. Make sure you keep giving your followers, fans and customers great content and a great overall experience with you but try not to let yourself be sidetracked especially by lone customers looking to squeeze you for everything they can get.

7. Listening On All Channels But Hearing Nothing:

     The quickest way to waste an entire day is as I am sure many of you have found out at 4am is to get absorbed by social media. No matter your poison we all do it. The marketing strength that platforms such as Facebook and Twitter provide come from exactly this, people find it hard to tear themselves away even when they have better things to do.

     For those of us using these platforms as an integral part of our business the risks of getting too absorbed are even greater still. Combine this with the fact that it is all too tempting to blast your message across every site, blog and media platform you can reach and you can suddenly find yourself drowning in a sea of posts and pages.

     The remedy here is to take a step back, take a deep breath and make a choice. Choose which platforms you are going to use and focus on them, resisting temptation to have "just a quick look at Pintrest and Instagram".

     There are more than enough potential customers on any half decent social media site to keep you in business till the end of time so don't get greedy or you'll end up getting nowhere. Remember the dog on the bridge? Don't go trying to grab another bone just to see the one you have falling in the river.

8. Forgetting Your Mentor:

     If you have followed the advice so far then you have found and paid for some seriously good training. This is an investment and if the mentor you chose was worth what you paid them they will not only be able to help you out they will want to.

     Don't try to make it on your own too fast. It is really a temptation to forget all about your coach when you see that first shiny dollar land in your bank account, I know because everyone does it even me. When this happens though it usually isn't too long until we get stuck, get lost or simply start to run out of steam. These are the moments you will truly thank your lucky stars that you had the foresight to find proper training and a strong community to help.

9. Underestimating Just How Much Determination It Can Take:

     The main reason why you are here, reading this post, is because you have heard that being an online marketer or an affiliate gives you the freedom to follow your dreams. It does, but, and this is a big but, only if you have the strength of will to do the hard work first.

     There is no secret software, no special spell and definitely no magic course that will make you a marketer overnight, never mind a successful one.

     Don't despair though. If you are willing to learn, listen and take the time to get it right you will make it. People often think it takes a "born marketer" to be successful, I'm here to tell you there is no such thing. Anyone who ever made it did it by working hard and learning well.

     I'm going to say it again. Find a proper course and if you can a community of like minded experts to support and teach you otherwise you may possibly struggle forever to get any traction at all.

10. Forgetting Your Customers Are People Too:

     Just because you might not ever meet the person you are selling to, or even speak to them in some cases, that doesn't mean you can forget for a second that you are dealing with real people. Think about the way you would like to be treated and the support you would like to get from someone you were giving money to.

     If you would not be happy with the way you treat your customers chances are they won't be either. Don't be one of those people you see and hear from all the time who'd sell their own granny if they thought they'd make a profit. Try to keep your honesty and your pride no matter what you choose to do.

     If you want to hear more about us and our training and support community you should head over to The Online Business Expert

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Stubborn, Passionate, Adaptable: Don't let fear clip your wings

     One of the greatest things about being an online entrepreneur is the freedom it gives you. Whether you are in online marketing, SEO, lifestyle guidance or any of a number of other relatively new and fast growing industries you have a huge amount of choice in where and how you do business.
In fact most digital entrepreneurs have no set place from which they work or set time at which they have to get that work done. As I am writing this for example I am sitting sipping coffee in my backyard on a surprisingly mild autumn evening.

     For many of us the choice to leave a career that was if nothing else a steady job that paid the bills was a hard one. It is a natural fear to leave behind a steady income, even if it is a job you have come to despise, for a less certain one that offers you more money and far more importantly, more freedom to choose the direction and style of your own life.

     The reason why people decide to make, what for most seems an irrational choice, varies greatly from individual to individual but from talking to others who have ditched the desk and are now building businesses and income streams from wherever they can get wifi I think there is one key theme that ties us all together.

     Unhappiness. Of all the people who I know that have made it in this industry I am yet to meet someone that says when asked about their previous job or life "Yeah, I loved it, it was great". In fact most people have a kind of burning dread of the life they used to have and in many it is that fear of falling back to earth, or maybe rock bottom for some, that keeps them hungry for success.

     Of course, not everyone is cut out for this kind of life. Those who do fly and who refuse to end up crawling back to their nine to five have a few traits in common that make them continue to climb and be successful when so many others have fallen by the wayside.

     Stubborn. The first trait I think that is a must have has got to be stubbornness. I am yet to meet a successful online entrepreneur who isn't as stubborn as the proverbial mule. Here though it is important I draw a distinction, stubborn is good, arrogant is not. Those that are stubborn are the ones that persevere no matter how hard it gets. Stubborn are the people who refuse to listen when friends and family tell them they will never make it and maybe they should ask their old boss for that job back. Those that are arrogant though refuse to take help when it is offered and this can be a deadly mistake.

     Passionate. Having, as I am sure we all have, worked with people who see a job as a pay check as well as those that see their job, no matter what it is, as a crusade and a lifelong passion it is easy to see the difference. There are a vast and every growing number of people trying to sell you something online. What separates them into two groups though is passion. Those without it will sell any tuppeny trinket to anyone without a second thought while those with it match seller to buyer and are proud to provide a service rather than spraying spam and hoping something sticks.

     Adaptable. The last trait that is a must have for the true digital entrepreneur is adaptability. The internet moves fast and the rules and strategies are forever changing. One day you have a great ad running on Facebook the next it gets pulled down for no apparent reason and you are staring at having an account blocked. For most people this sounds like a nightmare but for us this is the daily dance, the area where we let our talents shine and the area where all three of these traits come together to create the perfect storm.

     So why tell you all of this? Well we need more, more entrepreneurs more people considered a little crazy by friends and family, more people fed up of a boring life where the biggest choice you get all day is decaf or regular.

     You see almost two and a half billion people get online every single day, and the forecast shows that by 2020 that figure will reach somewhere close to five billion. This means that the Internet provides an effectively limitless source of potential customers and clients for us. With this in mind it is easy to see where the profits can be, and are already, being made.

     So why share? I'm going to be honest, online income or not, I'd be a millionaire already if I got a pound for every time someone has asked that. So let me put it simply. For internet entrepreneurship to survive and thrive we need good people to guide it. People who have empathy and passion, people who want to help make online marketing, lifestyle advice, social media and all the other joys of the internet safe and enjoyable for themselves and their kids.
One big difference between a digital business and a physical one is that the internet provides far more opportunity to spread good products and information but it also has the ability to push bad information and products just as easily if not more so. As Uncle Ben said "with great power comes great responsibility".

     So here you stand, and if you've come this far then maybe you too are ready to make the jump. To take that first step out of the nest and learn as we  all must how to flap your wings and fly. It won't be easy, but then nothing worth having ever was. The only difference is that unlike that little bird there is no need for you to go it alone.

     Already there is a community of experts, of professionals, who have taken the leap first. They can't guarantee you a soft spot to land on but they can at least be with you on your journey and show you how it works.

     So, if you are ready to take a chance then come and join us and let us show you how to truly get the best out of yourself and how to make a real change in yourself and in your life.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Opportunities And Challenges Facing Retailers In 2015 And Beyond

Over the last few years, many brands have begun using social media to market their products, to talk to their customers and even to make decisions about their merchandising. Some have also found growing ROI in selling and advertising products/services on social media sites.

     As more and more big businesses join the social marketing revolution social media sites have answered the call and have started to provide viable sales funnels built into their platforms. With the  recent launch of shopping functionality across multiple social media platforms we are seeing a major shift in the way traditional businesses are viewing and using marketing systems. Examples of this include Twitter and Facebook adding buy buttons and the inclusion of Curalate’s Like2Buy platform for Instagram. What all of this points to is an increase in the "shoppability" of social media.

     Some of the major retailers already getting involved in the trend of social shopping include some notable names like Target and Nordstrom , both of which have made the decision to utilize the Like2Buy platform on Instagram. Whilst brands such as Burberry and Home Depot have been actively testing performance on Twitter using the buy button system.

     By allowing businesses to not only advertise more openly but also to provide a sales funnel on their sites, many social media platforms are gaining an even more varied functionality by increasing traffic and reducing the traffic which leaves the site to buy items directly on a company's webpage.

     Another change ushered in by the socialization of online marketing is that companies must be more aware of their Corporate Social Responsibilities. As consumers become more capable of promoting or punishing brands directly where their sales pitches are made mistakes made on social media in terms of customer service, environmental protection and moral/ethical business practices become more costly and far more open to public scrutiny. To prove that consumers faced with a wider global choice of goods suppliers have begun to make this change we only need to look at things such as a  survey done by Cone Communications and Echo Research which showed that 87% of global consumers take such factors into consideration when thinking about making a purchase.

     To meet this need it is only to be expected that more businesses will launch ethical and good deed initiatives. Some retailers have managed to pull off social media coups by providing further value or by limiting themselves to more open and honest practices. By doing so they gain instant and lasting draw on social media sites where moral, social, economic and environmental issues are now a daily topic of conversation for many users.

     With so many consumers taking a more active interest in global and moral issues it makes sense for businesses to begin to engage those users with solutions or at the very least some movement towards easing these issues. As buyers these users find value being added to any product they choose to purchase in being able to feel good about making some sort of difference. This is a marked difference from companies trying to introduce value by providing loyalty points or free gifts with purchases.

     Another large change in the way businesses think about technology is the growing awareness that usage and experimentation in new technology is a must to ensure their continued survival and growth. To this end more and more businesses are beginning to experiment with and adopt new advancements in technology and new market opportunities presented by the growth of online shopping. The main aims here for businesses are not only to gain a larger following and a more loyal customer base but also to provide easier and more attractive methods for their customers to engage with them and to purchase products from them. By increasing the ease with which purchasers can buy a product and have it delivered to them businesses are taking a huge leap forward into the domain of products on demand. 

     To achieve this end many companies are pushing ahead with a range of technologies designed to  remove the need for a physical cash register. With cloud based point of sale systems proving that they can outperform physical registers in performance, functionality and looks as well as increasing speed and availability of customer support an increasing number sellers are beginning to recognize their value.

     Another boon for businesses big and small from working with online sales is the increased availability and reduced costs of accurate consumer data. With a wider range of information available and easier ways to condense and examine this information retailers can be far more targeted than ever before. Not only does this data provide accurate and timely information about customers it can also show businesses where their marketing efforts are having the most, or least effect. By using this information wisely companies can provide a more customized and effective service to their targeted audience.

     An obvious down side to all of this data collection is that sifting through it to find relevant trends and information can be time consuming and difficult. There are however many systems continuously being developed specifically to assist with identifying key data points and understanding the relevance and usability of ongoing or emerging trends. Being able to assess the interests and online habits of consumers gives businesses a decided advantage when designing new campaigns and products.

     Some of the advantages offered by gathering and assessing big data are the ability to know when customers are most likely to be online and when they are most likely to be open to buying a product.  Tying this in with information on what products they have previously bought or viewed allows retailers to be highly targeted in their marketing and follow up.

     One of the end goals that seems closer than ever is for retailers to be able to provide completely individualized shopping experiences in real time across multiple platforms for every potential client. At the moment this is beyond the ability of even the best big data analysis systems but we are most definitely moving very quickly into an era where this is a possibility.

     Even greater in recent growth than other sectors of the online market are those engaging their audience through mobile devices. With the staggering growth in mobile technology over the last few years going hand in hand with the availability of wireless networks almost everywhere mobile data has become a real game changer. This means that tech savvy companies are more and more delving into apps and web delivery systems that are targeted at or constructed for mobile device users.

     Another key move in mobile marketing is the ability for customers to shop, pay and collect loyalty or store bonuses with mobile apps. Even physical stores can provide a platform for mobile interactivity. With physical point of sale technology merging seamlessly into the general level of big data being obtained by the company in question.

     Many of the businesses that will prove to be most effective going forward will be those who are capable of embracing omnichannel strategies. Being able to reach customers across multiple platforms both physical and digital as well as being able to target them on social media and through highly targeted ad systems will provide huge value to brands who are able to diversify and embrace new technologies as they arise.

     So what are the real takeaways from all of this? Companies who wish to thrive in modern markets need to be supremely adaptive and capable of working fluidly across multiple platforms. Combining this with effective use of big data and a strong social media presence will provide the best success rate moving forward. Last but certainly not least is the rising importance of good customer service and experience across all platforms and a drive to provide environmental, ethical and social value to transactions over traditional incentives.