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The Importance of Social Media Tracking

It’s a well-known fact that being active on social networks can be advantageous to building your business and your customer relationships. Your marketing strategies should therefore include networking as a significant factor in marketing your brand. However I can’t put enough stress on the importance of Social Media Tracking because sooner or later you need to take a look at the return on your efforts. Participating is all very well but in the end it all comes down to revenue generation versus the cost to your business.

Here are a few tips to help you decide on the best strategies for your business.

Are you in the right place?

There is only a limited amount of time that can be made available for your online activities and hence it is vital that you don’t waste time that’s better spent elsewhere. Almost every business needs to be online but there is no need to be everywhere. You only need to be in the places that are right for you. Look at it this way, if you’re at a party where the guests are devout vegans then talking about your interest in the latest beef barbeque recipes would well and truly fall on deaf ears. So ask yourself these questions:

Is the site relevant?

There are numerous free sites that you can join but they are not necessarily all relevant to your business. For example, there is a plethora of free blogging sites but you only need one or two to promote your business. It’s much better for your business to have a strong presence on one or two relevant sites than to be one of many everywhere.

Can you beat the competition?

There are millions of businesses with an online presence and getting noticed can be difficult, particularly if you’re new to the game and are still trying to introduce your startup business ideas. A perfect example is YouTube. Yes millions of people do indeed watch the videos but will you be able to make your business stand out from the competition? Do some planning before you decide to jump in.

Is your time well spent?

Keeping track of the cost of your offline marketing activities is simple. One look at your bills will tell you exactly how much you’ve spent. What’s often overlooked however is the hidden cost of your online marketing activities. As the saying goes; time is money and what you need to measure is the cost of the time invested on your social media marketing versus the return on that investment.

Putting a price on your online activities.

You will need to make a budget allocation for the cost of your time invested in your online activities as much as you make a budget allocation for your actual marketing costs. A few simple steps can help with this.

Quantify your online time

Start by analysing the time spent on your various online activities over the past year and note them in order of your most profitable business ideas to the worst results achieved. Based on this analysis estimate the time that you are likely to spend on various activities in the next twelve months and allocate it to individual projects.

Cost your effort

Put a realistic hourly rate on your time. You can either vary this rate depending on the complexity of a task or use a base rate and vary the duration of a task. The latter tends to be the simplest approach.

Tracking your costs versus benefits

As I’ve said in the introduction; Participating in Social Media is all very well but in the end it all comes down to revenue generation versus the cost to your business.

Budgeting for a Social Media Presence

Divide the time allocated to each one of next year’s projects by task. A simple but effective time allocation principle is:

25% reading – keeping up to date by reading online material, including what’s being said about you and related or competing businesses.

50% communication – replying to comments on your blog, emailing, re-tweeting interesting articles, etc

25% creating content – writing blog posts, Facebook updates, creating videos, etc. Creating regular new content is vital to being found by the Search Engines.

Now apply your base rate to each task within a project.

Monitor your progress

Track your results for each activity e.g.

– use Google Analytics to check the performance of your blog

– calculate the conversion rate for your Facebook ads

– monitor the views of your YouTube videos

Check the ROI of time invested on your Social Media Strategies and make regular adjustments to your budget projections as needed.

I hope this article is of help to you. Do you use any form of Social Media Tracking to measure the results of your efforts? I’d love to get …

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Use a Pros and Cons Analysis to Choose the Right Business Idea

Most entrepreneurial types have a million business ideas, and under pressure they could come up with a million and one. The trick to a successful startup is picking the right one for the time, resources, and market available when you are ready to launch. Very few businesses fail because the idea is not viable, but a great many opportunities are missed because the entrepreneur doesn’t take the time to evaluate the best idea to pursue given the circumstances.
Every startup requires time, money and hard work to succeed, but the road is much smoother if there is a sufficient, reachable market for your product. Every business idea should go through a cursory analysis before any significant resources are spent. A rudimentary pros and cons list can go a long way in eliminating bad business ideas and can give you a head start in developing the good ones.
The pros and cons of any new business idea should include, at a minimum, the following areas:
Difficulty
How much do you know about the actual operations of your business idea? How much effort is required to produce a single unit of your product? Do you have the skills to produce it yourself or will you partner up, hire experienced employees, or outsource the skills that you lack?
Market
Is there a sufficient market to support your business idea? That is, are there enough people or businesses that will benefit from your product that marketing can be fairly broad? Or will you have to seek and find a very limited number of opportunities to sell? Is your idea a positive innovation on something people already use or will you have to introduce an entirely new concept to your market? Does your idea provide a greater benefit to your customers than the competition’s products? Will that increased benefit be enough to draw your own market share? How will your product be distributed initially? Down the road?
Industry
How crowded is the industry you are entering? Are there a lot of big guns you will be competing with? How will you fit into the marketplace? Will you compete on quality, benefits, price or some other factor? And, will the market respond to those differences? Remember that competing on price is the most difficult, unless you have concocted an innovative way to produce for far less than anyone else. Where is the industry headed? Will your idea expand to meet the needs of an ever-changing marketplace?
Resource Needs
What do you estimate your startup will cost? Do you have access to enough cash to launch it on your own? Assume, worst-case, that finding outside funding will be there a way to modify your idea to make it affordable? Do you have the time to devote to your startup? Can you afford to work a few months without significant income? How much of your personal resources are you willing to risk?
Interest
Objectively consider whether the business idea will hold your attention and interest over time. If you are motivated purely by profit, but have no interest in the product itself, it will be difficult to stay motivated through the dark days of your there will be dark days. You don’t necessarily have to love your business idea to succeed, but you need to find satisfaction in the day-to-day work. Somebody made millions from producing twist is doubtful that they adored the idea of twist ties before launching the business. More likely, they enjoyed the manufacturing and production industry in general, and saw a need for that particular item.
Path Forward
Write down every relevant factor you can think of related to your business idea and list out the pros and cons of each. Be as objective as possible about each aspect Talk to people about your idea and accept their input. Never be offended by negative responses, but try to dig for information that might improve on your original idea. Most of the time solid planning results in a far different venture than initially considered — this is a good sign. The more you learn, the more you can refine your idea into one that is bound for success.
If you have multiple business ideas, list the pros and cons for each of them, then compare the outcomes. Begin your entrepreneurial career with the easiest option; you can always launch the other ideas later. In fact, a little experience in starting any size and type of business will probably reduce the cons of your other ideas by the time you get around to launching them.…

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Drop Shipping – It Can Help Your Business

Using drop shipping in your business can be the perfect solution. The sad reality about this ever-growing business is that the number of individuals trying to make a go of it and failing is staggering. About 90% of new drop shipping businesses fail and successes are few and far between.
This isn’t because there’s a lack of follow through and diligence, this may not even be due to a poor business plan, but the competitiveness of this industry is just too much for some to take. The idea, the planning, the desire to work hard are all there; the problem is that the drop ship companies are hard to sift through. The companies that have failed are simply unable to locate the legitimate suppliers of great niche items that will generate sales with high profit margins.
There are directories of legitimate drop shippers available if you seek them out. Legitimate drop shippers will typically have a “fan base” of satisfied affiliates who probably talk about them on blogs or in forums. The drop shipper is the key to you business after all.
If you find a strong, reliable shipping partner, you can easily survive in this competitive online world. There are thousands of drop shippers with millions of great products on offer. Sometimes it helps just to know what niche market you’re aiming to fill. You really need only one good drop shipper to make your business work.
One of the biggest and hardest issues that new retailers face is the warehousing of products. Using you would need a storage space which can remove a few dollars from an already tight budget. But, storing is not the only issue. Maintaining stock and developing inventories are also hard to do. When you use a drop shipper you can say goodbye to all of these problems and concentrate on the part of the business that will bring in your cash flow; marketing and sales.
You don’t even have to worry about doing the research on the products you are going to retail; a good drop ship supplier will have the information readily available in catalogue form. And what’s more, you can usually download a database file to populate your database for your website. You can use the information to develop any kind of marketing plan you wish.
When you’ve found a great way to market the products and start getting some orders and cash flow, all you have to do is have the drop ship company fill the orders and ship them to your customers. All of the packaging, tracking and delivery are handled by the supplier company.
A drop ship company performs many of the tasks that a retailer had to contend with on their own in the past. Now the hard work and heavy lifting is done for you and all you need to do is find the most effective marketing strategies to earn your profits. This will also allow you plenty of time to expand your business, maybe branch off into different niches to get a good all-around business going.…

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Some Solid Advice For Any Video Marketer

Some Solid Advice For Any Video Marketer

You can improve your business’ sales via video marketing. It can be a bit difficult to make a great video. There are a lot of things to think about when you are doing video marketing. Keep reading and find out how you can do your best with video marketing.

Make sure your videos are optimized. Give each video you upload its own title and description. Be sure to use targeted keywords, as well. Contact information is a must, too.

A great beginning video marketing tips is to pick great video titles. A good title will attract more viewers. They help spark interest in the content that follows. Therefore, it’s important that you spend some time thinking of creative, yet relevant, titles in order to succeed at video marketing.

Use the tool of video marketing to tell the world about the product you are promoting. People often want to know how a product works before making the commitment to buy it, after all. If they can see for themselves how your products work, this can be powerful.

Get the rest of your office involved in making videos for your marketing campaign. The person in front of the camera should be pleasant, happy and comfortable. You should not hesitate to feature more than one employee or colleague in your videos.

Keep the tone of your videos consistent. A laugh-out-loud funny video can be equally as successful as a how to video. Take the time to really get to know your audience so that you can cater your videos to them. These qualities, as well as your image, are the most important factors for your tone.

Planning on attending a trade show, convention, or other public event? If so, ensure you take a video camera with you. This will give you the opportunity to interview experts and/or document your experiences. If you plan on giving a public speech, ensure someone is there to record it.

Do not ignore the analytics for your video content. You will be able to determine the number of viewers you have attracted, what time of day your video is most often watched, and from where your audience originates. These details can lead you to better understand where your target audience can be reached.

Do not take the whole burden upon yourself. It’s not possible to think of every great idea on your own. Use your staff and the people in your life that you trust to bounce ideas off. Meet up and do those sessions often, to be sure you are working at the top of your game.

If you get asked a question quite a few times, creating a video to answer it is a good idea. It is common to find text FAQs, but videos are even more dynamic. This provides visitors with the choice of how they wish to receive their information.

As previously stated, it’s not as simple as it sounds to make great content for a video marketing campaign. To get the most from your investments of time and money, use any of these tips as a starting point for your next foray into digital media marketing. Remember to plan thoroughly and execute flawlessly!…