What Is Email Marketing & Do I really need to use it for my business start-up?

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Email Marketing

As an entrepreneur, you’ve probably already come across the term “email marketing” – but do you really know what it is?
For anyone who wants to successfully build a business today regardless of what your product is, let me tell you that email marketing is an extremely useful and crucial tool. As the name suggests, email marketing is basically the use of email in your marketing communications and strategies. This might sound a little vague and broad so let’s delve a little deeper.

Email marketing includes all the emails that you send to potential customers, existing customers, and to the public in general. You can use email marketing for these purposes:

Promotional emails sent directly to existing customers to persuade them to buy your product again;

Marketing emails sent directly to potential customers to convince them to try your product for the first time;

Communicate with your market by letting them know what you’re up to, product developments, or exciting happenings in the pipeline

These are all meant to entice a customer or potential customer somehow and by providing them with relevant, timely information, and to get them to buy from you again. Email marketing is a useful tool in helping entrepreneurs and business owners just like you to generate a profit.

Email Marketing is Effective

We no longer live in a time when the best way to advertise your brand to potential customers was to place television and radio ads, or put up billboards along highways. Now the fastest way to your customer (and profit) is through their email. Remember that people now spend a significant part of their day on their mobile – this is where they learn about brands and spend money. It only makes sense that you get to them through their email.

But before you jump in and begin sending emails to people, it is necessary to sit down and think about your email marketing plan. Just like with every other aspect of your business, it is important to do the research and prepare so that you can get the most out of your email marketing strategy.

Despite the effectiveness of email marketing, I still see that there are several people who doubt if they need email marketing for their business startup. Let me tell you that without a good email marketing plan in place, you are missing out on a lot of potential customers. The fact is that people are checking and using their emails on a daily basis. Email marketing has proven to be as much as 40 times more efficient than social media marketing (although these two should complement each other but that’s for another post).

There are various kinds of transactional and marketing emails you can send that will all help your business. These include:

  • Notifications
  • Receipts
  • Promotions
  • Preview / teasers
  • Social alerts

These are all effective in helping a startup engage with the target audience. Eventually these will all help you build a stronger connection and relationship with the customer.

If these emails do not make their way to the inbox of your customer, this can result in poor customer service and lost sales. In fact, one of the biggest mistakes of some businesses is to attempt cutting corners in their email marketing strategy and as a result, they end up in their customers’ spam boxes!

Email marketing is also more effective at communicating with your customers directly because when an email lands in their inbox the message is perceived as more personal as well as more official. Your customer is more enticed to open a message there so it is more effective for you to reach them this way. If you leave important marketing messages on social media, there are still chances that they might miss it.

One great example of effective email marketing is Amazon. After a purchase is made off their site, customers receive recommendations on what to purchase next via email. How can you resist a banner that says “30% off your next order” when you see this in your inbox? Everyone loves a good bargain, no doubt!

I also need to tell you another important reason why email marketing is so necessary for your business startup. Today, people no longer access their emails exclusively by logging onto a computer like they did decades ago. Emails are now accessible anytime, anywhere – this means that you can reach your customers and potential customers through cross-channel access (mobile phones, laptops, tablets, etc). Each time your customer opens an email from their mobile, for example, this can come with a mobile-enhanced link to your website so that you can optimize marketing activities around your customer’s behavior in real time.

Email Marketing is Affordable

While email marketing is helpful for businesses of all sizes, it is also the most inexpensive and effective tool that start-up businesses need to master today.

For those of you who have a tight marketing budget, I have some good news: email marketing is actually extremely affordable. There are dozens of email marketing programs out there that allow you to maximize your reach and marketing campaign even if you have a shoestring budget. I know that not everyone has a large marketing budget but whether you have $40 or $400 to spend a month on marketing, trust me, email is the way to go.

There are also several great email marketing programs that are free for a select number of recipients. MailChimp, for example, is one of the most popular and widely used email marketing services. They offer various plans, and their free plan allows you to send up to 12,500 emails to 2,500 subscribers. Depending on your business needs and marketing budget, there is definitely an inexpensive way to do email marketing.

Email Marketing is Simple and Customizable

Maybe some of you aren’t convinced yet because you feel intimidated about actually using these programs because you’ve seen some real fancy email campaigns sent to your own inbox. You might be thinking that it’s too complicated to do. Let me tell you something – email marketing can be as complicated and as fancy as you want it to be, although it doesn’t have to be elaborate in order to be effective. There are hundreds of personalization options available from several email marketing companies that allow you to customize your message depending on your resources, budget, and capabilities (and nope, you don’t need coding knowledge at all in order to execute seamless, elegant email templates to your customers).

All startups should prioritize email marketing and make it the backbone of its overall business strategy. With a good, well-researched email marketing plan in place, business owners can enjoy the benefits of having more engaged users, a wider customer base, and an enhanced reach towards new customers without breaking the bank. This is necessary because email marketing, when done right, can positively impact other aspects of your business including sales as well as social media marketing. In fact, email marketing brings extremely high return on investment if it is executed well.

So if you are still asking if you really need it for your business startup… if you want to grow and make money (who doesn’t?) then the answer is a big resounding YES.

5 Reasons Why Now Is The Time For Women To Start Their Own Business

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Like many others before you, deciding when to start your business can be tricky to figure out. Maybe you’re still wondering if the time is right for your idea, or perhaps you still feel afraid about taking a big leap.
But I’m here to tell you that now is the right time for you to make that big step and start your business. Women can enjoy great advantages when it comes to entrepreneurship especially today. More women than ever are enjoying high-level management roles in Fortune 500 companies, and this has clearly paved the way for women to lead in business. Not very long ago, women were expected to stay at home and raise children. Fortunately, the timing of the shift for women in business makes now the perfect time to start.

 women launching business 2016 
Let me tell you why:

1. Technology: 

Any modern business needs technology not just to survive, but to thrive. Women today have access to all kinds of free as well as paid technology that can help leverage their business into success. Social media platforms like Instagram are becoming platforms where women launch and promote their business’ daily. From service industries like fitness trainers to e-commerce online boutiques to selling hair and everything in between.

Even if your business isn’t technology-oriented, you’ll need tools such as a website, accounting software, cloud-based applications, and design software among others for branding, marketing, and finance. Technology you need to launch your business online is much more affordable today than it was in the past, so you don’t have to break the bank to launch your business and make it a success!

 2. Freedom: 

If you have always dreamt about having a happy, healthy home life with your family but also want a stable career, entrepreneurship is the way to go. With effort, patience, and determination, you can enjoy the freedom of having both while earning money. By becoming a business owner, you’ll be able to run the show on both fronts: at home and at work. Keep in mind that it may take some time to create the ideal schedule, but it will be easy enough to figure out eventually.

3. Gender equality:

What was previously known as male-dominated fields such as technology are now much more receptive to women. It is also becoming more common to see women taking the role of CEO in many successful companies. Additionally, as an entrepreneur, you will also be able to help other women by creating jobs.

4. More earning potential: 

Say goodbye to hourly rates; by pursuing an entrepreneurial role there is no limit to your earning potential. Since you run your own company, you can easily go over a 6 figure paycheck. Each day in business, more women are becoming millionaires – this is your time to reach for that dream and make it a reality.

 

5. Leave your legacy: 

Starting your own business today is your chance to build something for yourself; something that is entirely yours from inception to execution. Imagine how much more exciting it is to live a life where you are your own boss and you no longer have to report to anyone else. There are no boundaries when it comes to entrepreneurship because you can make your business grow as much as you’d like. Success as a female entrepreneur does not discriminate based on experience, education, or background. With the right formula, resources, and support, success is inevitable.

 BONUS CONTENT: Have an idea and ready to start a business? Sign up to get the Business Start-up workbook for free..For a LIMITED TIME ONLY . 

Building your Business VS. Building your Brand

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 what is a brand Most people tend to use the word “brand” interchangeably with “business”. In fact on social media, it’s common to see business coaches and people that you follow use the phrases, “I’m just working on building my brand,” or “How to build your brand”; and probably you yourself say it too. But can you really go from having no business at all or just starting out, to building your brand?

To me that sounds like sending off your newborn baby to run a marathon. It simply can’t happen.

In order to run a marathon, first you need to learn how to sit up, then learn how to crawl, take steps, walk then finally learn to run. Just like a baby needs to go through certain steps, there is a process that needs to be followed from starting a business to building a brand. These steps are not mutually exclusive; one must need to start a business first and then focus on building a brand.

What is a Business?

I think it’s fair to say that we all know a business is a product or service that you are to offer for sale. When you have an idea for a business, there are certain things that you need to do and I think that the most important thing to do is create a business plan in a short form. I don’t think that you need a long form business plan but you definitely need a short form business plan to put your ideas on paper, mold them, and then test the ideas to reduce risks while increasing the chance that your business can succeed in the market place.
A business plan will also help you better understand your target audience and their needs for your product or service. Most importantly, a business plan will help you learn what needs to be done to make a profit (if you want to build a profit-making business).

If you are starting a non-profit business, that’s a whole different ball game, but still you need to verify that a target audience exists and that you are able to successfully reach them.

What is a Brand?

 what is a brand The term brand(ing) has evolved significantly over the past years. It’s been used interchangeably with business so its application has changed.

Originally, the word brand was used as a name given to a product or service from a specific source. Brand then went on to be known as ‘a non-generic name for a product that tells us the source of the product’. For example, a Coca Cola is a certain type of soda. In order to differentiate from a another type of soda that looks the same and tastes similar, they had to create unique features such as the packaging and the marketing strategy used by the company. This is why we can probably tell that a Coca Cola TV ad is playing around the Holidays only by hearing the jingle and without visually looking at the TV.

This example is an advanced idea of branding. We all know that Coca Cola has been around for a long time so they’ve been able to invest a lot of money into their brand. What I just explained defines what a brand is.

A brand is what your target audience thinks of, feels, sees, or hears when he or she comes across your brand name anywhere.

 

Starting a Business

It is important to have a brand identity especially if your business is just in its starting stages, because your name remains unknown in a sea of hundreds of thousands of brands. A brand identity will be crucial in helping you get your business name recognized in the market so that your target audience will be aware that your product exists.

Remember that it’s important to create a brand identity when you are starting to grow your business. I know this sounds like nit-picking at words but I don’t want you to just use the word “brand” just for the sake of saying, “I’m building my brand,” without knowing what it really means.
While working on building your business, it’s necessary to simultaneously work on creating a brand identity. An example of a smaller business that created a brand identity is Carol’s Daughter, the HairCare line (they have just been acquired by L’oreal). As they were building their business, the HairCare line worked on becoming a known brand. Eventually their audience learned to associate the brand’s unique features such as logo and packaging to the HairCare line exclusively.
For the purpose of my readers who are just beginning to build their business,  my advice is to focus on trying to build the business first instead of jumping straight into brand-building so you can learn valuable information along the way. The adage that experience is the best teacher is indeed true, especially for entrepreneurs just like you. I want you to be successful and that means you’ve got to roll your sleeves up a little. It will entail starting from the bottom and working your way up to get to the point where you do have a brand to build.
You are supposed to have a brand identity and brand signifiers as you create your logo, packaging, website or slogans for your business, but this does not mean that you are already a brand. Let’s start with Stage One and work our way up.

 
Conclusion

What I think you should be focusing on, first and foremost, is the short form business plan. Here are some important things to remember when building a short form business plan:

  • make sure that you have a target audience for your product or service
  • do the market research
  • evaluate your competitors including their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and the threats, which is also known as the SWOT Analysis.

Even if you are a nonprofit, you may still want to generate revenue. So you still need to make sure that there is a way for you to effectively bring in profit. Once these are all done then you can focus on doing what needs to be done to build the business.

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Grow Your Instagram & Pinterest Following – Custom designed graphics

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 Is Canva driving you crazy? Photoshop too time consuming to master? And everything in-between  just not giving you the professional outcome you desire?

Instagram and Pinterest are driven by images, these images MUST be high quality and professional when you are using your account to market your business. 

You may have discovered Canva or another image editing application by yourself or from an online coach revealing these platforms to be their ‘secret tools’ or ‘must haves’ for success. I love when people in the know share information, but I think one critical thing is missing. Unfortunately even these tools require some level of design skill. What if you don’t have design skills , or the time to work on it. What to do when you don’t want to spend one week working on one graphic? 

Realize that your time is valuable and better spent working on other areas of your business.  

This is why  I created the ‘Boost Your Biz Graphics Club’. Every week or month get your custom designed and branded graphics delivered to your inbox, ready to post on Instagram and Pinterest!

Would this save you tons of time? We are launching soon, sign up now to register your interest and get 20% off! 

create instagram  graphics for your business 

Do you know why you should be blogging for your business?

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 Blogging is dead? No it’s not. In my opinion it’s only ‘dead’ if you don’t know why you should be doing it.

Like with most things, doing something because someone tells us (teacher, friend, online ‘guru’) or because we think we should be doing it, without knowing why we need to do it is useless. 

How often have you been frustrated because you know you should be blogging but you let days , weeks and even months go by without posting a blog. Sure you love reading the fashion and gossip blogs but you’re not sure why you need to be blogging when you just want to promote your personal training business (for example).

I’ll attempt to briefly breakdown to you why you need to blog and give you a free new resource (..did I mention ‘free’) to REALLY help you understand and implement the principles to help you grow your business.

1. Blogging isn’t just for gossip and fashion

Us ladies may be tempted to believe that ‘blogs’ are just reserved for fashion and gossip outlets. Blogging is a form of content marketing. Think of it as a way of communicating with your potential and current customers on your terms. Blogs are usually connected to your website, so what you discuss is automatically connected with your brand.

2. Give yourself a voice in a very crowded room

Starting a business can be overwhelming, how can you get your voice heard when you are a new entry into the market…answer: Blogging. You should use your blog as a platform to give advice, share your opinion about subjects in your industry’s etc. This can then be turned into content for you to promote across your social media. Create a catchy image in Canva or Photoshop and post it on Instagram with the link in the bio.

3. Build it and they will come

Creating blogs that naturally speak to your target audience does have positive benefits, like improving SEO. Create quality content and the right people will come to your site. Although this is the discovery part of the marketing funnel, eventually visitors that once a discovered you could turn into paying customers.

Blogging is only part of a content marketing strategy, but it’s a great place to start for new startups!

FREEBIE RESOURCE

The amazing folks over at Moz have just released a ‘Beginners Guide to Content Marketing’. It was useful for me, and I hope it helps you truly understand the benefits of blogging (amongst other things) for your business.

Sign up for free marketing tips that actually help you grow your business online! 💻🙌

You’ve decided to start a business….now what?

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New business start-up blog series alert!

  
You’ve been inspired by all the ‘successful’ entrepreneurs on Instagram and finally feel like now is the time to light (or in many cases re-light) the fire under your business idea.
You’ve even taken the next step by hopping on to the new social media live streaming platform ‘Periscope’ to get some answers from your favorite social media business experts. You’ve taken all the notes and your rating to go….but now what.

When you step away from staring at Instagram dreaming of your follower reaching 10K, and the buzz from the recent periscope session has dies down….what now?

How do you take all the inspiration , notes and tips and actually put it into practice and NOT put it off until the next time you see another Instagram business success story and have to press the reset button.

I have so much personal experience with this scenario from myself and working with clients in the same position, that I’ve created my Tips to Successfully Taking Action on starting your business.

1. Create actionable goals
Yes I know you’ve probably heard it before but trust me…you need to set up goals. In your planner write weekly actionable goals. These goals need to be SMART. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.

Quote – Need further examples on SMART goals? Join the women for change email club for exclusive tips and promotions.

2. Research
Research the best way to launch / grow your business online for your type of business. E-commerce? Don’t just sign up to shopify just because someone else has. Look at the costs and logistics involved in relation with your goals and see what will work for you.

3. Make decisions
Now you’ve done research, make your decision in a timely manner. Overthinking things can kill your idea aka procrastination!

4. Put together your Support squad
Your decisions will mean that you have invested time, money or both. And you think that’s enough to give you the motivation for staying the course? Not necessarily true! Ever have a ‘friend’ that bought a gym membership but never went?

I’ve found the best way to stick to your goals when your own moral is low, is to tell your goals to your support squad. Now the ‘squad’ may be just one person, a few or a group. It should be someone / a group that you fully trust, is your cheerleader and most importantly they must be positive! Think of them as your accountability partner.

Have no one in tor life like this? Find them online. You can find like minded people on social media and some coaches offer paid group coaching. It’s worth investing in this to keep yourself on track.

Follow Women For Change on Instagram for daily tips, inspiration and a chance to answer business questions for free!

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