How to Decide What Marketing Channel to Focus on When You’re Just Getting Started

Decision making is a part of business success – it’s like laying the foundation upon which a house is to be built.

The decision you make either makes or mars your business. This is why it is important to get it right from the outset and once that is achieved every other thing falls into place.

Unfortunately, a lot of businesses crash even before taking off simply because something went wrong with their foundations – this usually as a result of choosing the wrong marketing channel.

Typically, as a brand new business that is starting for the first time, you need to observe the market properly before taking a leap to avoid crashing and losing all your investment.

It’s true that the field of marketing is filled with challenges, but you could lessen the problems if you know exactly what to do and where to start from.

Here’s the good news…

…Getting things right is not rocket science; you just have to know what marketing channels work for your type of business, and which one will be a waste of time and money. This will enable you to make an informed decision.

However, before we move ahead with this discussion, we need to understand first what marketing channels are.

What Are Marketing Channels?

Marketing Channels

Marketing channels are the various ways through which you can get in touch with your clients, customers, volunteers or donors. Some of the most popular channels used today are:

  1. Blogs or websites
  2. E-mail newsletters
  3. Print/direct mail
  4. Social media
  5. Etc.

All the channels when used well, can drive enormous amount of traffic to your site. However, there are three fundamental questions you need to ask yourself before deciding on which marketing channel to chose.

According to Neil Patel,

“By asking all three questions in order, we’ll get to the exact answer you’re looking for.”

Here are all three questions in order:

Who are your customers?

Where do they hang out?

What marketing channel should you start with to reach them?”

Who Are Your Customers?

Who are your customers?

First, it’s important to know who is going to patronize your service or buy your product. You can take a few easy steps to get to know your prospective customers.

Pick one person that is likely to buy your product as soon as you start. Let’s assume you want to start a motor mechanic workshop in Chicago. We can be more specific with the kind of cars you want to repair.

Let’s say you are starting a workshop for Toyota cars in Roscoe Village because that’s your place of abode, and you will be repairing the different models of Toyota cars in the area.

Now, your customer’s name is Tim. He is a businessman who also stays in Roscoe Village but does his business in Hyde Park, goes to the place about five times per week and drives a Toyota Camry (2015 model).

The business also takes him out to New York City once a week.

Now, we only used Tim to define who your ideal customer is. But Tim is not the only customer you’re targeting, but you’re also targeting other people driving any Toyota model in the area including Tim’s friends and families.

Where Do They Hang Out?

We already have an idea who your target customer is and the physical place he stays in. But that’s not enough; we need to know the places where he and his friends hang out online.

For this customer, his hanging place is the Toyota Community on Facebook, and you can also see many of his friends living in the same area in the same Facebook community.

What Marketing Channel Should You Employ To Reach Them?

User-Friendly Websites

Having known your customers and where they hang out, the next thing is to know the right marketing channel to use to reach them. Different marketing channels could be utilized, but you need to find out which one is best suited to your need.

Neil Patel advises that you should concentrate on one even though there could be more than one good channel at a time. He simply feels it’s better to know a channel, study it and master it in order to dominate it.

So, how do you go about this?

1. Start marketing where your customers are

Here’s the best thing to do.

Since you’ve already done your research on your customers, you should take the marketing right to where they are – right to their door steps.

In this case, you can start from the Facebook group where your customers are hanging out or to any other social network where you’ve been able to trace them. This way, it’s easy to market to the right person without much stress.

And since that’s the target audience, the likelihood of them buying from you or patronizing you will be quite high.

2. Start with “Hand-to-Hand” Guerilla Marketing

This is a great strategy that’s proven to work really fine. Sometimes, word of mouth marketing works like magic; nothing beats contacting people randomly (cold-calling) or walking up to them and convincing to believe in what you offer.

According to Eric Siu of ‘Singlegrain,’

“Almost always, without fail, the answer is hand-to-hand combat. It’s going out there knocking on doors, cold-calling and e-mailing people directly.”

A lot of companies adopt this strategy because their first 100 customers really matter.

However, getting it right with the first 100 customers equally means getting it right with the first 1000 customer, and the chain continues.

Unfortunately, starting with the first wrong 100 customers would eventually kill your business.

If you are testing a new product, it is easy to test it with the people around you to see if they would want it rather than hiring a developer for a huge sum of money to help with the research.

If the people turn out to love the product, they are likely to recommend it to their friends and family members.

3. Interview your audience to find out what marketing channels they prefer

This is another yet effective way of choosing your marketing channel. Since people of different age groups don’t fall for the same bait, it’s good to develop excellent communication skills that will enable you to reach each of the audiences with the right message targeted at them.

According to Valerie Neumark’s post on Rootid.com,

“Stakeholder interviews and surveys are an extremely effective way to learn more about your audience. At Rootid we prefer interviews, since you can “read between the lines” when chatting with people.”

6 Things To Think Of When Choosing a Marketing Channel

Target the right audience

There are six common questions you should ask before finally settling for a marketing channel.

The questions are:

1. What if two or more good marketing channels exist?

When two or more good channels exist, you can decide to choose just one. Don’t make things clumsy, and don’t try to carry too many things along at the same time.

Why should you choose one channel? This is because:

  1. It will be less expensive
  2. You can easily learn it
  3. Getting result with it is faster

2. How much is the cost of the channel?

Money is hard to get. So, when starting out, you need to consider cost. If you are presented with options, you have to go for the channel that would cost the least money to run.

If the money is not there, you can start with a free channel but consider other good marketing channels when you eventually have some money to invest.

3. How much time does the channel require?

Some marketing channels need more time than the others. For instance, it would take a longer time to compose an excellent blog post than it does to prepare and send out a direct mail or set up a campaign on Twitter. However, the channel you choose should depend on how much time is available at your disposal.

4. How long will it take to see results?

Getting a fast result means investing a bigger sum of money. The time it will take to get results on Twitter is faster, but it is cheaper to run a blog.

If you need the result quickly, it means spending more money on running campaigns on Twitter or any other reliable social media.

5. What’s the learning curve?

Whatever channel you choose would certainly take some time to learn. This is because, according to researchers, learning a new skill takes up to 10,000 hours.

In choosing a channel, therefore, you need to consider a channel that is easy to understand but capable of giving you the right result you need, at the right time.

However, investing a moderate amount of time in learning the marketing channel would be okay.

6. Some channels have hidden learning hurdles

You may end up learning some other skills before progressing to the real channel you have chosen to use.

For instance, to be able to use a blog for marketing, you may be required to learn SEO and content creation/marketing before you can do the blogging well.

To use Instagram for marketing, you may need first to learn what Instagram is all about. That may be what you never envisaged before choosing the channel.

Nevertheless, whatever amount of time you invest in learning the different foundational layers will eventually be a blessing to you in the long run.

Conclusion

To be able to market effectively to your audience, you need to know who they are, where they hang out, and the right marketing channel to use.

You must also remember that marketing requires investing time and money as well as learning one or two new skills.

When you see a channel, learn everything you can about it, master it and then add another. It is better to master a channel first and dominate it before adding another one to it. It is also important to ensure your hosting plan can carry all the traffic that will come to your site once your chosen marketing channel start yielding result.

How to Choose the Right Web Hosting Service for Your Business

When you want to market your business online, one of the things you will want to consider is having a website built for the business. Unfortunately, a website is not complete without a web space. This is where a web hosting service comes in.

The question is how do you choose the best webhosting service for your business website? Most importantly, how do you know which is the best webhosting service for your business site?

Now, you must understand that choosing the right hosting company is crucial to your business success as the website hosting provider is responsible for keeping the online side of your business operational. Any failure on their part is sure to affect your online business operations adversely.  So you will need to put in a lot of thought and consideration.

To help you with this, here are my top suggestions:

Choose the right web hosting service for business

1. Compare the Prices

The first thing that most people think about when buying a hosting service is the price. This is understandable because nobody has money to throw away. It’s vital to get value for money and spend no more than you can afford to spend. But it’s also important to analyze which service is the best for your website. Sometimes, the more expensive options are the ones that give you the best services, and that might be a price worth paying. It’s all about comparing prices as well as services.

2. Tech Support

Websites go down for random reasons. This happens to all websites, even the very biggest ones. So, when this happens, you need to have tech support to get the website back up and running as quickly as possible. Most website hosting services will also offer a tech support service, and that’s a good thing. You need to make sure you read all the small print though. You want the tech support to be as comprehensive and as fast as possible. The best providers offer support throughout the week.

3. Read Customer Reviews

If you have the chance to, it’s always a good idea to read the reviews of a particular web hosting service. You should read as many of them as possible because they might offer you a valuable insight into the service and what it can offer you. Of course, you shouldn’t rely 100% on reviews. But if when you’re reading them, certain issues keep popping up, you might want to do a bit more research because it might show that there’s a problem with the service. As long as you do this, you should avoid major problems.

4. Analyze the Technical Specs

Before you can decide what technical specifications you need, you should think about what you want to do with your website. What you load your website with will affect what kind of hosting service you need. For example, you shouldn’t choose a cheap service if you intend to fill the website with content and videos, as this could lead to a lack of speed and crashes. This is why it’s vital to analyse the technical specifications of the service and make sure you’re getting what you need.

5. Room to Grow

You need to think not only about the here and now when choosing a web host but also about the future and the future needs of your website. A host might be fine for you when the website is small and the traffic flow is low. But if the website expands and grows in the future, you’ll probably need a strong service and more space. So, you should ask the right questions when choosing a host. Ask about whether the service can be expanded in the future; this could save you a headache later on.

Conclusion

There you have it, five practical tips on how you can choose the right webhosting service for your business. Of course, these are just a few suggestions. As mentioned earlier this is an important business decision you must make with care. Invest time and reason in making your choice. Your business success depends on it!

So, why don’t you share with us your experience in choosing a webhosting service? Are you satisfied your present choice? What considerations did you use in making your choice? Share with us in your comments below.

The 5 Pillars of a Successful Business Marketing Strategy (Are You Missing Any of These?)

When you think about the biggest brands and companies in the world, there’s one thing that CLEARLY really sets them apart from the others.

What is that thing?

It’s their marketing! Take it or leave it, your marketing strategy is such a powerful thing that it can make or break your company.

Now, if you carefully examine it there are two key facets to it. The first is identity. Businesses use marketing to carve out their unique place in the industry. They use it to create an identity, and show off their differences. Secondly, it’s all about awareness and recognition. You need to get your product or brand in front of as many eyeballs as possible.

As a small startup on a budget, it’s tricky to know where to start. But don’t worry, I’m here to offer some help in this area.

In this post I will walk you through the five core pillars of marketing. Each have their unique benefits, and you’ll need a good mix to stand out in the modern world.

So, if you are ready, let’s get started!

Pillars of Marketing Success

1. Traditional Advertising

One of the cornerstones of marketing is advertising. Paying money to access a huge community of potential customers is still one of the best ways to get your name out there. Traditional advertising refers to TV adverts, radio adverts, and magazine placements. They focus on old media. Now, many marketers have pronounced this market dead. But, if you create a powerful and compelling TV advert, you’ll reach the masses. Plus, magazines are still one of the best ways to reach a niche audience.

2. PR

PR stands for ‘public relations’, and it usually involves hiring a third-party company. It’s their job to introduce you and your product to the press. Natural press coverage (in magazines and online) is much more powerful than advertising. It means that journalists and tastemakers are actively promoting your product. Customers tend to trust their recommendations, so it’s a crucial part of your marketing strategy.

3. Digital Marketing

Of course, the dominant form of marketing now takes place online. If you’re a small startup or new business, this is where you should begin your activities. First of all, it’s much cheaper than traditional marketing, and it’s much more targeted. You can use online advertising through Facebook or Google to reach highly specific audiences. You can build a website, start a blog, and create a rabid community of followers.

4. Social Media Marketing

Social media is part of your digital marketing strategy, but it deserves a category of its own. It is incredibly powerful when used correctly. Some modern companies have built their livelihoods through social media. Creating a community on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest is your best way to reach customers.

5. Experiential Marketing

Experiential marketing is a little more tricky to get right. But, when you do, it’s the most impactful of all. You’ll need to get a little more creative here. It’s all about creating an experience, and making an emotional connection with your brand. Think about Red Bull’s marketing campaigns. It’s all based on extreme sports and challenges. It makes you feel something. You connect their brand to a particular emotion. That’s experiential marketing at its best.

Conclusion

Take another look at the above again. How many of these pillars of marketing are you currently using? Can you think of any room for improvement?

As mentioned above, your marketing strategy is very important. What you do and how you do it will greatly impact on your business success. So no matter what you do you should take your marketing strategy very serious. You can take one of the above marketing concepts and concentrate on it or take a few and use them as a combination to drive your business to the next level.

What Does It Take To Succeed In Business?

Ask any entrepreneur and you will receive the same answer: building a successful business is not “bread and butter”!

The common statistics about small businesses is that most go bankrupt or are closed abruptly in their first five years of getting started. For those that move beyond the 5 year mark, many “pack up” shop and lock their doors before they are ten.

Why Do So Many Businesses Fail?

Why do you think that people like Aliko Dangote (Africa’s Riches Person) were able to, not only move beyond these statistics, but have also been able to grow their businesses to world renowned status?

A careful scrutiny of these businesses point to some very specific things which can be classified into three main areas namely: personal, customer, and operations!

Succeeding in business

1. The Owners Personal Sphere

This deals with the owner’s personal motivation to start a business. For example, if you want to start a business but you are not willing to make the necessary sacrifices, then you are already putting yourself at a disadvantage.

You must understand that when you start a business for the first time you will need to sacrifice time, money, and happiness to ensure that that business succeeds. If you can’t do that, it is unlikely that such a business will flourish. So, before you rush off to “be your own boss” remember that building a business is far more than just having a bright business idea.

2. The Customers Sphere

This is another very crucial component of your business success. Without customers you do not have sales, without sales you do not have money and without money you do not have a business.

Now, to build a profitable customer base there are many factors to consider. In the beginning you must have a cost effective marketing strategy that targets your intended buyers. You can do this by developing a profile of your customer and then advertising in those places that they frequent.

3. The Operations Sphere

This is only second to the Customer Sphere. In operations you must have an appropriate method of reducing costs, keeping track of paperwork, and maintaining improvement. Operations can also take into effect the tax paperwork, accounting, scheduling of workers, benefits or any non-producing functions.

Of course, when you are just starting out, there may be challenges putting these three components together. Seeking help from those who have succeeded in these areas is a sure way of overcoming such challenges.

Another route you can take is seeking out resources, like these top business success guides, from some of the world-renowned captains of the business world.

If you’re thinking of starting an online business, then subscribing to this blog will be a great idea. In addition to your free subscription you will have access to an insightful ecourse that will help you get started on the right foundation. Subscribe using the form at the top of this post.

Are You Responsible?

Yes, I need you to answer this and right now: Are You Responsible?

Now, I’m sure that is a question you will want to think really good about before you answer, right?

I know you don’t want to answer without knowing what I mean by you being responsible, right?

Maybe you’re thinking I’m somehow accusing you of being responsible for the problems that have being deviling this blog lately. And to that you definitely will want to answer, no I’m not responsible!

Or maybe you are thinking I’m trying to hold you responsible for some other troubles in your community. And so you are already thinking of firing back, no I’m not responsible!

Take responsibility, You're in charge!

Responsibility Is a Heavy Weight for Many

We must understand that humans never want to be responsible even when they are responsible! Giving excuses is a natural thing with us. When things happen we are quick to look for a “scapegoat”. We pass the blame. We look for someone to hang it on.

But I want to categorically point it out to you today that if you’re not responsible you cannot succeed as an internet entrepreneur. I don’t really know how to put this more clearly, but what I’m saying is:

You Are Responsible therefore You Must be Responsible!

The success or failure of your online business is up to you. You have no one to blame. The responsibility is all yours. If you succeed, the credit is all yours and if you fail, that also belong to you!

Matter of fact: Your success or failure online is in your own hands.

It’s only those who are prepared to take the responsibility for their actions online that will actually make it. So you don’t want to leave your success to chance, like flipping a coin into the air and waiting for it to land on heads or tail! You must take complete control. The choices that will bring success or failure depend on you. If you make wise choices then you will claim victory and success will be yours. But if you take the wrong decisions then you should expect a crash and the result? Your dreams would go up in flames!

Please excuse me if I’m being too brash!  But like I’ve written a few days ago, I’ve seen too many sincere intending internet business entrepreneurs falling by the way side that I’ve always felt like weeping. Seriously! That was what prompted me writing about the sure cornerstones for online business success in the previous couple of posts. From the responses to those posts it does appear that we all agree with the points raised. But the question is, are you taking the responsibility of rolling up your sleeves and putting action to your desire? Or are you still waiting for the sure-set-and-forget-it solutions from some internet guru?

Without the right action, the road maybe rough and the destination elusive!

Here is a saying from the Holy Bible that I’ve lately made my watchword:

It Is NOT the Hearers that are blessed but the DOERS!”

You must be a DOER if you want to enjoy the fruits of your online business.

You must realize today that the odds for succeeding online are not in your favor.  A thousand and one internet business enterprises are launched every day. Of these just a few will be around in about a year from now. That definitely is not some pleasant news. But there is goodnews and that is, take action towards your dream and that dream will be drawn closer towards you!

I’m not ignorant that many are here just because they want some back link. As you are aware, I try my best possible to reply every comment on this blog. That means I read every single comment. And that has given me insight to the type of people reading this blog. Now I’m not in any position to tell you what you must do. That is your responsibility. But let me emphasize that if you must be responsible then laying the right foundation as I’ve mentioned in the previous posts is a necessity. You need the right mindset. You must have a plan in place. And you must build on the right foundation.

You Hold The Key, Use It Well!

What I want to leave you with in this post is that you and you alone hold the key to your success. If that is the truth then you must strive to ensure you’re abreast of what is happening in the line of business you’re running online. You must understand that business on the internet changes at a fast pace. You need therefore to keep pace with the changes. Look around at the internet business landscape, read the trend and make the necessary changes that will make you a visible player in the market place.

Your internet business will grow and expand if you grow and expand your knowledge. You must understand that you are your business. And as Robert Kiyosaki wrote in his classic, Rich Dad Poor Dad, you definitely need to mind your own business! Never be afraid to invest in yourself. Invest a minimum of 5% of your time and your income back into yourself.  Remember you’re responsible! Constantly learn new things and apply them to your internet business. Like I’ve mentioned earlier invest in books, attend real world seminars, teleseminars and webinars. Subscribe to business newsletters and read them.

Everything you do should be aimed at learning and adapting what your learned in your online business so that you can succeed and grow. In all of these there is the need for you to build your own strategies. This is very important as one of my mentors will always say:

“If You Don’t Have A Strategy You Will End Up In Tragedy!”

I do believe I have been able to help you take a second look at what you’re doing right now knowing that whatever you do you’re responsible. It’s my responsibility to give you these tips but it is your responsibility to take the action.

So are you ready to answer the question: Are You Responsible? Of course you can now say yes, I’m responsible!

Before I let you off I want to point you to a few books I’m reading right now. You can get them at Amazon.com today. I guarantee that will definitely help you in investing in yourself:

1. Living an Extraordinary Life!

2. Self-theories: Their Role in Motivation, Personality, and Development

Let’s have your reactions to this post. You may want to share with us what you’re doing to be responsible for your online business right now. Leave comments below.

Little Known Cornerstones For Longlasting Online Business Success!

In the first part of this article I presented just one of the cornerstones for building an enduring and successful online business – having a right and healthy mindset. In this second and concluding part I want to present you with the remaining 3 cornerstones. I do hope you will find these ones as helpful as you did the first.

But I know many will want to ask why the much interest in these cornerstones?

My answer to that is because building a business is like building a house. Every building engineer knows the importance of a solid foundation to a building. In fact, the foundation, to a great extent, determines the building structure. The higher the building is expected to be, the deeper the foundation!

This is very much the same when building a business. If you expect something that will stand the test of time then laying the right foundation is a must. That is why you must take seriously these 4 cornerstones we are discussing.

Having said that, let’s now take a look at the remaining cornerstones that are necessary to build a successful business online.

2. Use the Power of Leverage

If you’ve been online for a while you will readily note that there are different business models you can choose from when building a business online. All of these models have their own pros and cons.  And of course, some are more successful than others.

However, whatever the model you decide to choose, you mustn’t forget to employ all of the power that the internet offers to make your online business successful. No stone should be left unturned. Learn to leverage search engine optimization (seo). Proper leveraging of seo will quickly get your business blog/website indexed by the search engines. Leveraging seo includes proper structuring of your site, using the right keywords in the right places, implementing the right linking structure both on-site and off-site and providing sticky content that will appeal to both the search engines and your human visitors.

Another area of leveraging the internet is using online social media to build a brand for yourself, your website and your products.  Build your reputation and credibility using Private Label Rights (PLR) products. These give you the power to create your own products with ease. You can easily do some re-writing, change the name  and put your own  and then give them away to reap the gains of viral marketing with ease.

Other areas include the use of software programs to free up your time while building your business. Doing this will enable you work for less but achieve much. For example, you can use auto-responders to automate your operations. Tracking tools will help you better understand what’s happening in your business so that you can take better informed decisions that will drive your business on the right lane.

3. Build the Right Relationships

Ever heard the saying: “It is not What you know, but Who you know that counts”? Indeed that may be an old saying but it is nevertheless true when it comes to building your online business. The cornerstone of good solid relationships mustn’t be toyed with. It should be one of your top priorities.

In our everyday life, building social relationships help us insert ourselves into social situations which gives us the opportunity to come in contact with people who have interests that are similar to or complimentary to our own.

The same happens when we establish business relationships. With the right business relationships you can insert yourself into business situations where you will meet others who have businesses that are similar to or complimentary to your own business. Attending real brick and mortar business seminars and online teleseminars and webinars, will help you build friendly business relationships with not only your peers but also with those who are in position to help you.

4. Find a Capable Mentor

It isn’t likely that there is a more valuable asset that a new netrepreneur can have than a good and capable mentor. Someone who has already made all of the mistakes can help you avoid making all of the mistakes yourself.

They have the wisdom that comes from experience. And with this they can easily point out pitfalls to help direct you toward the better of choices.

But why, you may ask, would anyone who has made it want to take their time to help a newbie succeed?

Of course they do it for various reasons. But the most common one is because they desire to see what they know outlive them. And this they do by teaching what they already know to other up and coming netrepreneurs. However most of these successful internet marketers wouldn’t want to waste their time on anyone who has not already worked hard to lay the first three corner stones themselves. These potential mentors are looking for new comers who show that they have a right and healthy mindset, who are working hard at leveraging and who are well aware of how important it is to know all the players and the RIGHT people.

In short, the new comer most likely to get a mentor is one who is already working hard and helping himself and not looking for someone who can just smooth the way for him. So you must learn to work your online business implementing the first 3 cornerstones we have mentioned above.

Conclusion: I don’t know about you but right from the start of my online business journey what has always been in my mind is to build a business that will not just take advantage of the present opportunity but also will stand the test of time. And this is why every action I take in this business is to build on this foundation secured on these 4 cornerstones. You too can decide the direction of your online business. What you need is setting up the right foundation for your online business by getting a right and healthy mindset, using the right leveraging tools, building the right business relationships and working on getting the right mentor(s).

Of course we all love comments –  Give your reactions to this article in the comments below!