Tag Archives: marketing

Why we hate MLM companies and any other direct seller business

Jemi

Nobody likes to be sold to. When we hearing the word “selling” of any kind, we turn our head away and run. The truth of the matter is, we are being sold through marketing everywhere we go. Everything from our clothing, cars, and even our toothpaste all has been marketed to us.  Why are we so hesitant to buy from a MLM company or any direct seller?

Direct sellers- Don’t have the marketing budget as big companies do and have to work harder to get through your door than an average company. By work harder, I mean that their frontline (Your Avon lady) needs to find you (the consumer) and teach you about her products. Bigger companies like Home Depot and Wal-Mart have big commercials and advertising teams that send their marketing message to you so that you will choose their brand over the competition. This marketing message comes to you in different forms like; TV, radio, print newspaper, social media sponsored ads.  Direct sellers only have brochures, a website, and themselves to send that same message to you. You see the seller as a seller, whereas a big corporation, you see a message.

Many MLM companies have started as a scamming business that looks legit in the beginning but have con many hardworking citizens. Some of these companies made millions misleading others and has made national news staining the MLM community. Not all multi-level businesses are schemes but because we have heard about horrible stories, we are forever tainted.

Most consumers don’t know that MLM are more often just like the companies we work for. There is a CEO that overlooks the company as a whole that delegates to a board, those delegates to managers, and those delegates to the frontline workers. This CEO makes the most money because they usually hold the most profit share and the bottom line business reflects their pocket size.  The difference between them and our direct sellers, is that these direct sellers are able to work hard and reap the financial benefits that come along with it, where in a corporation, they work on a wage.

Our direct sellers are our neighbours, friends, and family that are trying to make a little extra money to get out of debt, create savings, or have a dream that they cannot achieve in the standard 9-5 job. Many of these corporations do not give their frontline workers the bonuses or even benefits that they need in order to sustain a comfortable living. Direct sellers need to work harder to gain your trust and attention so that they can make a dollar. We as people don’t like being misled or sold to. We as people need time to trust a company or product before purchasing. Make an informed decision before choosing one over the other.

 

Jemi Smith guest blogs on numerous websites and owns a mom community website called momsgotodurham.com. She has a passion for business and marketing and is raising two young boys under 3. You can e-mail her at jemiechevarria@gmail.com or call her at (647)785-5851

 

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How to Take a Vacation From Your Marketing

CHuntly

As a business owner, the most important thing you can do for yourself is take a break. It also happens to be the hardest thing to do if you are trying to run your business because the moment you go silent on the marketing front you will lose audience interest.

With the holidays right around the corner, it is the perfect time to take a breather from 24/7 entrepreneur brain. Taking both a physical and a mental break from your business (even if it’s a staycation) will help you avoid burn out.

If you’re looking to take some time off this holiday season, don’t let your marketing efforts suffer. Here are a few things to consider to keep that momentum going throughout your time away.

  1. Blog early: You should have a regular posting schedule for your blogs so your audience can come to expect content at a certain time. Keep that schedule going while you are away by writing your blogs ahead of time. Most blogging platforms will allow you to schedule each blog to go live at a specific day or time.
  2. Automation is your best friend: This requires a bit of planning, but if you work ahead of time, you can schedule content to go out while you are away. Work with a program like Hootsuite, Buffer, Mailchimp, etc. Try to stay away from the bots that automatically like and comment on posts as those can seem too contrived.
  3. Delegate tasks: If you already have a team in place, make sure you put someone in charge while you are away. Empower them to make decisions without you, but let them know that you are available for emergencies. If you are a solopreneur, hire someone you trust to look after things while you are gone. Start working with them at least a few weeks in advance so they are fully comfortable while you are away.
  4. Prioritize tasks: Not everything has to be done right now. Have a look through your to do list and rank everything by due dates. If there are things that need to get done before you leave, then get them done. If you have tasks with no due date or ones with later due dates, leave those to get done when you get back.

After taking some time for yourself, you will find that you return more refreshed, which usually leads to more energy to put into your business. Taking time away from your business will allow you to approach your business from a new perspective. It will make you a better business owner – and your marketing strategy doesn’t have to suffer.

Candace Huntly is the Founder and Principal at SongBird Marketing Communications, an award-winning agency working to take organizational and individual brands to the next level. With a passion for all things related to creativity and strategy, she specializes in business intelligence, marketing & branding, content strategy & development, media & influencer relations, and social media. Basically, if you need to put your brand, product, or cause in the public eye, she will find a way to do it, while making the approach unique to you.

Connect with Candace

Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn/email/Website

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Tips for Holiday Marketing on Social Media

 

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Social media is all a-twitter with holiday promotions, holiday party selfies and businesses competing for your business and spreading holiday joy! The social media world can become a very noisy place during the holidays, but here are a few ways you can ensure your small business can stay ahead of the crowd.

Hashtags

Using holiday trending hashtags can keep your business visible among your target audience. Choose hashtags that your target market is already using or might be following. By providing content that aligns with the current conversations on social media you can ensure that your brand will not be forgotten when people create their holiday wish lists.

Seasonal trends

Stay tuned to what’s trending this season and share content that shows your brand is in-the-know when it comes to what people are talking about.

Visual aids

Getting noticed is all about standing out. Create captivating graphics for your social media posts and blogs that are sure to grab people’s attention and make them want to click. (lighting, graphics, design, colours)

Ads / promotions

Social media ads are the most effective way to grab the attention of potential customers. You can create custom audiences of people who may have already visited your site or may already be on your mailing list. This allows you to focus directly on an audience who is already familiar with your brand and thus more likely to follow through with a sale.

Use email

Email is still the most effective way to follow up with customers and potential customers. Many email clients can connect with your online store to help you follow up with website visitors who may have “window-shopped” without finishing their order.  Try sending exclusive coupon codes to your email list for special holiday offers.

Above all, remember that there are real people on the other side of the network who are just as busy as you are this time of year. Present them with solutions to solve their problems and make their life easier. Stay social and engage with your audience online through relatable, interesting and engaging posts and make sure to take time to answer back!


To learn more about how to maximise the effectiveness of your Facebook marketing efforts, schedule a complimentary consultation with Teach Me Social. Teach Me Social owner Kelly Farrell has been helping empower Canadian Small Businesses through social media since 2012. Teach Me Social offers effective social media services which include training sessions and consulting as well as full-service social media account management.

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Don’t Do Marketing & PR… Until you can answer these 5 questions

CHuntly

Marketing & Public Relations (AKA PR) should be an important part of your outreach strategy. After all, PR is defined as interacting with your public, and you need to do that to communicate your brand message to your audience. If you’re not trying to communicate with your audience, you are relying too heavily on the “if you build it they will come” strategy. In a world of social media and other online channels as well as all of the visual and informational bombardment on a day-to-day basis face-to-face, there is too much noise in the marketplace to wait for someone to notice you. You need to initiate the connection.

It can be tempting to jump on the first opportunity you see to get your brand “out there” without thinking too much beyond that you just want people to see you. However, just because it is the latest and greatest idea doesn’t mean it is the right one for your business.

You have a lot of options available to you when it comes to marketing and PR. The challenge for you as a small business owner is to pick the right options that will give you the highest return on your investment (of time AND money!).

Here are a few things you need to get straight before you jump on that latest and greatest idea you came across:

  1. What do you do? Be able to identify in detail what product or service you are selling.
  2. Who would be interested in what you have to offer? When you can answer this question, you will have identified your target audience.
  3. Why would your target audience want what you have to offer? This is an important step often skipped by entrepreneurs who are launching a business. You need to be able to articulate – in writing and when you are speaking to people – what makes your product/service so great. Along the same lines, identify what sets you apart from your competitors.
  4. Where does your target audience congregate? Do a bit of research to find out where they get their information from, what organizations they belong to, their social media habits, and what their buying habits are.
  5. What are your goals? Once you have identified who you are and who would be interested in what you have to offer, you need to set goals so you can identify what a successful marketing & PR campaign would look like for you. Is it sign ups? Website traffic? Awareness?

Once you have answered these five questions, you can sit down and use the information to decide what kind of marketing & PR strategy you should run. Your audience and your goals will dictate what channels you use to reach out and your product/service offering and differentiators will help you determine what type of content and messaging to use on each channel.

While it means you need to invest more time in the beginning to help set yourself on the right track, it is worth it in the long-term.

Candace Huntly is the Founder and Principal at SongBird Marketing Communications, an award-winning agency working to take organizational and individual brands to the next level. With a passion for all things related to creativity and strategy, she specializes in business intelligence, marketing & branding, content strategy & development, media & influencer relations, and social media. Basically, if you need to put your brand, product, or cause in the public eye, she will find a way to do it, while making the approach unique to you.

Connect with Candace

Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn/email/Website

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Are you spending your time effectively on Facebook?

 

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Are you spending time looking at the right parts of your Facebook business page? It’s so easy to get distracted by “shiny things” on Facebook, but as a business owner it’s important to stay focused on your goal to connect with your followers. Having a strategy for your social media marketing should also include regular maintenance on your Facebook page to ensure that what you are posting and sharing is actually connecting with the right followers.

  1. Update the “About” tab on your Facebook Business Page regularly. Take a few minutes at least once a month to revisit and revise the fields with important information about your business. In particular, ensure that the Short Description, Long Description and all contact details are up-to-date and accurate.
  2. Review the Insights for your Facebook Business Page often to analyze what posts are reaching your audience and are engaging your followers. The Insights can help you identify the best time to post and can provide you with more demographic information about the people who engage with your Page.
  3. Monitor the interaction on your posts and be sure to reply to all comments quickly! The average social media user expects a reply within 1 hour to a comment that they make on social media. Be considerate of the time someone took to make a comment, and respond in kind, even if just to say Thank You!
  4. Share your involvement in local or online events and be sure to create event listing for events that your business is hosting. Invite your friends and contacts to join your event page for updates and event information. If you are participating in someone else’s event, you can add that event to your page’s event listing without creating a new event. This helps to connect your business page with others, thus increasing your visibility!
  5. Know when to spend money on boosted posts and promotions on Facebook and allocate an appropriate budget for this purpose. Keep in mind that you should first set up target audiences in Facebook Ad Manager before spending any money on promotions. The more time you spend to target the right demographic, the more return you will see on your ad spend.

To learn more about how to maximise the effectiveness of your Facebook marketing efforts, schedule a complimentary consultation with Teach Me Social. Teach Me Social owner Kelly Farrell has been helping empower Canadian Small Business owners through social media for over four years. Teach Me Social offers effective social media services which include training sessions and consulting as well as full-service social media account management.

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Hanna Guerra: Canadian Small Business Woman of the Month of August 2016

hg-round hanna

Hanna has a deep and varied skill set in the local and digital marketing arena where she specializes in putting together marketing strategies and implementing and executing lead generation activities for various franchise systems. Hanna is the Founder and CEO of 24/7 Virtual Marketing (www.247virtualmarketing.com), a company that helps entrepreneurs, small to medium sized businesses, franchisors, and franchisees get more leads and convert those leads into sales. Hanna is also a certified Get Clients Now! Facilitator and is excited to launch her Get Clients Now! 28-Day Program in mid to late September 2016.

A couple of years ago when Hanna dove in headlong into the exciting – and sometimes frustrating – world of marketing and business development consultancy, she’s already had years of experience building her own successful brick and mortar business from the ground up. Her early success was due to consistent analysis and adjustment of marketing activities as well as implementation of systems and processes.

While Hanna enjoyed the crazy busy hours of business ownership of a brick and mortar business with high six-figure annual income and double digits monthly expenditures, she felt the pull to change for her growing family. Hanna has a son and a daughter who are growing way too fast! With her current business development and marketing consultancy business, she enjoys flexible hours working in her home office and in a quaint office near Square One, Mississauga.

Though she believes that one can’t truly achieve work and life balance, Hanna is okay with that…as long as she is there for her kids and the kids know that no matter how busy business and life gets, they are her priority. For more information on Hanna’s marketing consultancy and group coaching programs, please visit her site: www.HannaHelps.com.

Our Q & A with Hanna:

*What inspires you?

I am constantly inspired by business owners who show commitment and grit to do what it takes to move their business, their vision, their goals forward.

*As a small business owner, what achievements make you most proud?

The day I started saying “no” to the wrong clients was the day my business started to really move forward!
*What advice would you give to other aspiring small business owners?

Know your strengths, know your weaknesses and find a way to develop processes and systems that address these strengths and weaknesses. And, truly, don’t undermine yourself.

*What new things can we look forward to from your business in the upcoming year?

I am truly excited to launch my group coaching programs as a Get Clients Now! facilitator. My 28-Day lead generation marketing programs for entrepreneurs and small business will truly help them understand what they need to do and develop a consistent way of generating leads for their business.

 

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When to follow technology trends in social media

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There is a big difference between jumping on the bandwagon just because “everyone else is doing it” and adding a new tech trend as part of your overall digital marketing strategy. The rate of change in the world of technology, especially for business, is extremely fast-paced and keeping up with the new apps, website trends and social media features can be a very daunting task. Despite the challenges that come with keeping up, it can be very beneficial to be an early adopter of new technologies and digital shifts.

 

First come, first serve

The first users on many new platforms, websites or apps are usually privy to special offers and features. On social media, the early arrivals are almost always the first to develop a large following of other early arrivals, who also tend to be more engaged and loyal than new followers later on.

 

Work out the kinks

Getting on board with a new feature or platform also give you ample time to work out the kinks, a time when making mistakes are part of the game and adds authenticity to your brand. Part of social media is the allure of being able to see behind the curtain of a logo and glimpse the authentic personality driving the message. Working out the kinks and figuring out a new platform with other early adopters also sets you up as a leader and expert when the rest of the crowd follows you.

 

Staying Current

If your brand stands for ingenuity, creativity or innovation in any way, then getting on board and being part of the initial phase could play a huge role in setting your brand up as a leader in forward thinking. When your brand shares their enthusiasm by joining in on trending topics on social media, it shows your followers that you are current, relevant and engaged.

 

Beware of shiny things

All that being said, the biggest danger with new technologies is the “shiny things syndrome”! It’s happened to the best of us – like children, we are easily attracted to new things and can get sucked into spending hours playing with new features and testing out new toys.

 

To avoid getting sucked into new technologies that are not going to see an overall benefit for your small business, you can ask yourself these questions:

  • Will using this tool attract new customers to my business?
  • Is my target demographic already using this tool?
  • Will my business benefit from being part of a trending conversation online?
  • How much time can I afford to spend daily using a new technology tool?

 

If you weigh the pros and cons of each new tool, it becomes easier to identify trends that will have a positive impact on your business and ones that may not be worth your time investment. In most cases, it is always a good idea to get advice from an expert or other small business owners. Attending networking events and joining online communities (like Canadian Small Business Women) are great ways to know what other entrepreneurs are doing online and where they are focusing their energy.


Teach Me Social owner Kelly Farrell has been helping empower Canadian Small Business owners through social media for over four years. Teach Me Social now offers services ranging from training sessions for small business owners and their teams to full-service social media account management. Visit teachmesocial.ca to learn more about our service offerings or to book a no obligation consultation, including an audit of your existing social media channels.

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Exhibitor 101: How to be an exemplary exhibitor at your next tradeshow

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Many business owners, like myself are always trying to find ways to promote our businesses.  One of the best ways to get face time with potential clients is through the tradeshow circuit.  We try to maintain our business presence in the community by attending tradeshows as an exhibitor.  We also host a minimum of 5 tradeshows each year and we find that there are a few guidelines that our exhibitors are usually unaware of.  Below are some tips that we have put together to help with determining what shows are right for you and how to get the best of your exhibitor experience.

  • Before being an exhibitor, let us back it up a bit.
    • How do you source events?
    • How do you plan for your events? How many per year?
    • Budget
      • Event booth cost
      • Promotional product cost
      • Literature cost
    • You have booked your exhibitor space, now let’s prepare.
      • Ask about choosing your booth location
      • Swag bag opportunities (inserts and swag bag sponsors)
      • Advertising exchange (if you have a large mailing list, offer to be an advertising sponsor). Ask about sending a certain number of emails, tweets, Facebook posts, Google + in exchange for mentions at the event, logo placement in handouts, etc
      • Promote the event!! If each exhibitor brings 10-20 guests from their network to the tradeshow, imagine how many more potential clients will be in the room to help grow your business.
      • Ask the organizer if there are ways to make your exhibitor fee back? (affiliate ticket sales, affiliate exhibitor sales, etc)
      • Preparing your table/booth layout
        • Preplan what items you will display
        • Ensure that you have literature about your product or service pre-printed
        • Ensure that you have the appropriate display for your product.
          • If you are a jeweler, how do you effectively display your item
          • If you are a clothing company bring a model or offer to have certain pieces worn by other exhibitors
          • If you are an author how will you display your books
        • Decide if you will do draws/raffles at your table, how frequent and at what cost?
        • Will you offer an event only discount?
        • Wear comfortable clothing and shoes. Dress appropriately for the event and remember that you are your brand.
      • It is the day of the event
        • Be on time: You want to not only make an impression on the planner, but also on the other exhibitors
        • Spend your first moments setting up – not socializing with other exhibitors. Ensure that your space is set up exactly how you envisioned.  Stand back and look at it from every angle to make sure that it is visually appealing, but also that it meets your marketing expectation.
        • With your remaining time, mingle with other exhibitors, exchange business cards, discuss event partnerships (ex, cupcakes with teacups at an event) – clothing company partnering with a jewelry company to wear their clothing
        • Ensure that you have eaten prior to event startup. Try to have small snacks and beverages with you (in a bag under the table). Do not clutter your table with food and beverages.
        • Once the doors are open, smile and be ready to be somewhat aggressive. Work the room.  You don’t always have to be behind your table, just stay in your space and do not impede traffic to your other exhibitors.
      • The event is over. Next steps
        • Event feedback.
          • If the organizer has a feedback form/email, take part. If not, relay your experience to the organizer. Be truthful and constructive
          • Follow up with your contacts
          • Asses if you would take part in the event in the future and let the organizer know. Right of first refusal!!
          • Connect with other exhibitors to find out about events they normally attend.

You have your tips and now it is time to execute.  Enjoy your experience.  Ask us about our upcoming shows or find out more on our website.

Dwania is the Founder and Executive Director of Canadian Small Business Women Contact Canadian Small Business Women:

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The importance of small businesses blogging

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When blogging made its first appearance in the late 90’s, it was mainly used by individuals wanting to express their thoughts and feels towards various topics. However, over the years blogging has evolved and is now used as a main tool for many businesses to express ideas, pass along valuable information and is a means of keeping connected with clients. Blogging is one of the biggest, easiest and not to mention free marketing strategies out there. Entrepreneurs, whether established or starting up, need to understand the importance and value of this tool.

What having a blog site can do for you:

  • Boost your websites search engine optimization (SEO): by posting blogs frequently, Google and other search engines will be able to use the important key words, which are plugged into your post and your appearance on the search engines result page will increase.
  • Causes traffic to your website: by linking your blog site to your business’s website, you will increase traffic flow, along with creating more awareness around your brand.
  • Establishing relationships: end your blog post with a question and get conversation going, create a section under your post for readers to leave a comment or additional feedback. Being able to review and respond to their comments will give you some insight as to what your customers are looking for from your business.
  • Connecting to the brand: most outbound marketing techniques do not allow you to show off your personal side, blogging gives you the opportunity to show your business’s true personality.
  • Free marketing: whether readers share your post on Facebook, tweet it or email your blog to a friend, this is helping create more buzz around your business.

 

Dwania is the Founder and Executive Director of Canadian Small Business Women Contact Canadian Small Business Women:

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Dealing with Negative Comments on Social Media

Teach Me Social Blog - dealing with negative comments on social mediaIt’s happened to all of us. We work hard to publish an article or a social media post only to have someone come along and respond with a negative or defamatory comment. It’s disheartening, frustrating, upsetting and even angering and it takes every ounce of patience to not want to write back an equally negative and snarky reply. I’ve been there, and I’ve felt the same way. But I can honestly tell you that the best way to respond to negativity on social media is with positivity.

Sir Isaac Newton described his 3rd Law of Motion by explaining that “Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.” In elementary Mathematics, we are taught that a negative and positive number of the same absolute value cancel each other out in an equation (ie. -4 + 4 = 0) What does this have to do with social media? Well, the same notion of countering forces can be applied to all positive and negative forces, energy and comments.

As a rule of thumb in customer service, it is always best to respond to customer complaints in a calm, professional manner. As business owners, we need to recognize that the customer just wants to feel validated for their complaint. This can be handled in a number of ways, but it is always best to acknowledge their negative experience and try to offer a solution. There may not always be a mutually agreeable solution, but remember that an angry customer has more potential to do damage to your business’ reputation than a happy one.

Here are some important Do’s and Don’t’s when considering how to respond to customer complaints, reviews or feedback on Social Media…. KEEP CALM AND RESPOND WITH CALM Poster

What not to do –  

  • Don’t ignore it. It might be tempting to try to delete the comment, or hope it quickly fades down in people’s newsfeeds, but there is never any guarantee. It is always better to respond and address the problem than ignore it and hope it goes away.
  • Don’t respond back with negativity. In the world of debates, two negatives never equal a positive! Responding with anger or offence is just going to add fuel to the fire. It’s upsetting for everyone involved and surrounds your business with negative energy.
  • Don’t get into a battle. There is nothing to be gained from trying to have the final say. Anyone following the discussion on your social network will be able to “see” the entire battle unfolding and each of your followers has an easy click to unfollow you and refuse to see any future posts from your business.

What to do instead –

  • DO take time to formulate an appropriate response before typing any reply to the comment. If possible, ask a colleague or trusted friend to read your reply first before you publish it online. Taking time not only allows you to respond with a clear head, but it also has likely given your disgruntled customer a chance to cool off too.
  • DO respond with professionalism and offer to address the complainant’s concerns offline, perhaps via email address or over the phone. Offer a solution to the problem right up front so that the next step is in their hands to either take you up on the offer, or to walk away.
  • DO end the discussion quickly, after a single, well composed reply. There is nothing to be gained by carrying on the discussion if you first response did everything to address the complaint, offer a solution and provide a non-social media form of communication to use to continue the conversation.

Teach Me Social owner Kelly Farrell has been helping empower Canadian Small Business owners through social media for over for years. Teach Me Social now offers services ranging from training sessions for small business owners and their teams, to full-service social media account management. Visit teachmesocial.ca to learn more about our service offerings or to contact us today for a no obligation consultation, including an audit of your existing social media channels.

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