How to keep track of industry trends

Staying up to date on industry trends is a great way to stay current and find new ways to serve your customers. You will also find new tools you can use to make your life easier, but the question is, how do you do all of that and still run your business? Luckily there are tools you can use that will bring that information to you in a curated way.

Know the best sources for information

Before you start to curate knowledge and information about your space, know where to get quality information from. This could be blogs, with new updates, twitter accounts or social media personalities that talk about what you do. Youtubers, media publications and influencers are all great sources of information. 

Knowing who these people are, is the beginning of your curating journey. Why? Because they are already writing about the industry. Some are industry-specific and can help you find information quickly. If you haven’t done this already start gathering your sources. 

Create Google alerts

Google alerts is a great way to find information on a daily basis. What it does is curate all articles, blogs, videos for a particular keyword. Once that keyword is posted online, you get an alert n your inbox. You can set it up so you get a daily digest, or you can set it so you get an alert about each post. 

This is useful as you can check it once a day and find new and interesting articles to share on your social media channels. Even ideas to talk about as well. 

Create a list on Twitter

Twitter list is an excellent curation tool. If you follow people on twitter add them to a list for a specific topic. When you’re browsing on Twitter, go to that list to see all the latest tweets, and see what people are talking about in your industry. If you see something interesting you can retweet it, log the idea for use later and so on. 

If you use a tool like Tweetdeck, Hootsuite and others you can see all your lists at a glance. This is handy because you don’t have to switch between list using the regular Twitter app. 

Join groups on social media sites

Facebook groups, quora spaces, Linkedin groups are great ways to keep current. Some groups curate content and help you find good sources for information. This is very useful as group members not only ask questions but share helpful articles as well. If you’re not in any group, join some and keep track of the questions members ask. 

Subscribing to blogs in an RSS reader

You can use an RSS reader to have all your sources in one place. Feedly is a good app for this. All you do is create an account, start following blogs and media publications. Create a different topic list to separate them. This will help you have all the information in one place. 

So we’ve discovered 4 ways to curate content and stay current with what’s happening. why not try them out and see what works for you.

How to generate ideas for your social media channel

Social media is a great way to keep in touch with family and friends. It’s also a good tool to keep in touch with customers. But here’s the thing many business owners create social media pages and fail to consider what am I going to share? Some might think about it and then get scared and abandon the idea altogether. 

This might work to ease the fear but never solve the problem. In this post, I’m going to share with you how you can generate lots of ideas to share on your social media channels. 

Keep a notebook and write stuff down

The first thing for generating ideas is to have a system to keep track of them. What’s the point of gathering ideas losing them because you forgot. So, having a notebook and pen will be a useful tool to keep close by, to log ideas when you get it. A good exercise I found in James Alcuther’s book chooses yourself is to s write 10 ideas down per day. He says it’s a great way to keep the brain flowing and good practice to always have ideas to use.  Applying it in your case is to write down stuff you can share in the notebook and work on them later on.

Doing this will get your thoughts flowing, and help you see that it’s not that hard to find stuff to share. You can be as detailed or informal as you want, just get the ideas down.

Richard Branson in his book” Losing my virginity” talked about how keeping a notebook with a list of ideas is important. Also, James Alchutcher says writing ideas down changed his life. I have personally tried the exercise and walk around with a notebook in my bag every day to keep track of ideas.

Keep track of questions customers ask

Answering customer complaints is a great way to find new content ideas. People have issues all the time. They might even have questions that you know the answer to. During your interaction with them, they might have a problem unrelated to what you do but can point them in the right direction. Write them down. That’s why you carry a notebook. These are ideas that you can use for content. 

If you run out of ideas, do a search on google/quora for other questions people are asking relating to your business and answer those on your channel. 

Keep track of industry trends and events

Another way to generate ideas is to keep track of the latest happenings relevant to your industry that you can share with your customers. These content can be a great way for you to share your opinion and share a different side of your brand. 

It is also a way for you to educate your customers about what else is happening in the space. You can find offer other persons to collaborate with and even cross-promote each other. Keep track in your notebook and ideas for future content.

Keep track of ideas you can do tutorials on

The last thing I want to share is teaching what you know. Make a list of ideas you can teach that your customers can benefit from. These videos and articles can serve as a way for you to show customers how to make the most of your product/service.

The other thing that’s important is also teaching customers how to buy quality products or find a good service provider in your space. This can help you build trust and expand the variety of content you can share on social media. 

By going through the exercise you should have lots of ideas to share on your social media pages. Now go share those ideas.

A new way to look at social media

Have you ever found a local business on Facebook, only to see that the content they post is one big flyer? That flyer has all their services mixed up in one. I personally know business owners who do this and I think they miss the mark when it comes to social media, and I’m going to share why.

Outside of a stamp of approval when I follow businesses on social media, I’m looking for more information about what they do and to connect with the brand, learning more about their story. This approach to social media is causing many businesses to lose money because not everyone is in the market to buy. Publishing content other than a sales pitch is a good strategy. So the question you might ask is, what do you post?

Answer questions that your customers have

The first type of content you can share is frequently asked questions. These are easy to do, just use your phone and record videos of yourself answering the questions that customers have. These types of content is a great way to build trust with your audience. To get started, make a list of all the questions your business get on a regular basis and start creating videos with the answers, then schedule them over the course of the week.

Teach people how to do what you do

Another way to use social media is to build trust by teaching. John Jantsch in his book “Duct tape selling” says content that demonstrates your expertise, attract leads and builds your reputation is a renewable asset. Once you build it, it can serve you for years, and continue to increase in worth. This shows you just how important it is to teach what you know. 

If you’re in fashion teach people about how to dress for different occasions. A photographer can show how to take pictures with a DSLR. A chef can teach recipes so that others can copy what they are doing, and by doing this, builds trust as well as finding new content ideas. 

When you educate your customers they become more informed about the choices they make, and working with them becomes way easier. For example, I worked with some gospel recording artist on a few tracks, and we would talk all the time about how the music business works, how to get the music out there and so on. These were paying customers, and they had questions about the next step. I had solutions, and I shared it with them. This was on a one to one level. Social media can amplify stuff like that. 

A channel to share your story

One of the things I hear gospel recording artiste in Jamaica complain about is lack of support from the media. Business owners have similar problems with getting media coverage. Here’s the thing about getting a write up in the paper, and an interview on the radio or television doesn’t always lead to people buying your products. Sometimes the media doesn’t tell your story accurately. But you don’t have to wait or seek permission to do that. Share your story your way through your social media channels. 

How can you do that? Start by sharing why you started your business. Share what problem you are looking to solve. What are some of the challenges you’ve faced, and how you overcame them? If you make food products, talk about health challenges that you are looking to solve. A story about a person who had something that your product can assist with. These are the things you can share. If you support a cause, and the business is just a vehicle to share that. Occasionally, you can drop a sales pitch. 

Share behind the scenes footage 

The last thing is sharing your work, and what you do. Bring people behind the scenes. Show them the process of you making “your thing”. Do you have an interesting conversation with a customer t?  share the story. Sharing the process of how you do business gives persons an inside look at exactly how you can help them. Don’t worry about people copying your style because the people who care will still want to do business with you. 

Is there a technique that you’re using, share that. Is there a system that use to solve problems, share that. You get the idea by now. 

These are four areas that can help you maximise your social media channels, and drive positive results for your business.

3 mistakes businesses make when promoting their business online

One of the most frustrating situations I’ve faced when trying to get information from local business owners is googling them and finding nothing. Even worse finding a phone number that doesn’t work. The other thing is finding one big flyer with “everything under the sun” that they do, and no way to contact them. 

This is one experience I have ever so often, and it’s a frustrating situation to be in.

 You are ready to buy something, money in hand but you can’t get in touch with the business establishment because they are unreachable. That’s one of the reasons why companies like Amazon and other online stores profit. They make it easy for consumers to buy stuff. 

I remember going to a local computer store’s website to find out if they have a printer I wanted in stock. It was difficult to find that information on their website much more, to find the printer section. Calling was even worse. All the numbers rang without an answer, or are out of service. This problem can lead to many businesses losing paying customers without even knowing it. Here are 3 mistakes I see  business make online:

#1 Wrong contact information

This one is huge and also the most frustrating. Why would you put up a phone number or email address that is not working, or you no longer use? I’ve seen this with schools, government agencies, churches and business places. 

It is important to put correct contact details that are up to date, and functional. Persons who contact your business are closer to buying than you think. They are either comparing prices or checking the availability of a product. This puts them at the bottom of the funnel and reduces the chance of getting prospects for your business.

#2 No contact information

The next mistake is that there is no contact information. This is downright stupid. Having your contact information on hand makes it easier for persons to reach you with questions they have about your offer. This makes it easier for potential customers to reach you. It’s almost like these businesses are allergic to making money. It’s very hard for customers to find them. 

They are some business who are not listed in the yellow pages so facebook search or google is the natural places to look for them. They have a facebook page but no contact is on the page. The only option for me or persons looking for these type of services is to move on to someone else. 

#3 Right contact no answer

The other mistake I see businesses make is their failure to respond when contacted. This is worse compared to not having the right information or no information at all. Calling someone multiple times only for the phone to ring without an answer. No matter the time of day, this creates frustration for the customer, and you might end up getting blacklisted even if you do good work. 

The solution to these issues is to update your contact information so customers can reach you. Also, put a system in place to handle inquiries that come in. If they are frequent, put up information on your social media channels to answer those questions.

Why set up a landing page for your podcast?

A podcast is an intimate medium. You take listeners on a journey with you by addressing their problems, sharing stories and solutions that help them. But if you run a business, chances are you want to convert those listeners into paying customers. To do this you’ll need a conversion system. By this I mean an offer to give to your listeners, and a place for them to get it. An automated sequence to nurture the relationship. One critical component is a landing page. 

When a listener hears your offer and decides to take action, they want to go to a webpage to get that offer. They will see the offer and find even more reasons why they should get it now. Instead of having them search for it, you can make it easy for them to decide. 

Before anyone can become a customer they all have questions relating to your offer. Some might be sceptical, but visit the page to verify the doubts. So that’s what the landing page is for. This space should answer all questions, and help convert listeners into leads that eventually buy from you. 

A distraction-free environment

While people are listening to your podcast they may miss some things you said about the offer. Why not repeat it on your landing page. Only your offer is on the page. They can focus on getting all the information they need to decide. It’s a distraction-free zone because only your offer is on the page. This is important because the listener only has one choice to take the offer or leave it. 

This makes deciding easier and increases your conversion once you have a good offer. It also makes it less of a hassle to decide what to do next as your call to action will be on the page. 

You can separate offers for customer segments

Chances are you’ll have multiple offers, free and paid for your listeners. Where would you put them? On a landing page, with each offer having its own page. You might cater to different people and have multiple products that solve various problems. This is a great way to separate your offer so that they don’t compete with each other. 

This makes selling much easier because each of the solutions is separate. you can create different pathways for different customer segments. Also, you can track every step of the way to see what’s working and what’s not.

You can track whether  your marketing is working

The last point is that you can track what’s working and then fix it. When you look at your podcast download numbers then how many persons visited the page. The real metric is how many persons took action on the page. This number can tell you how effective your offer is,  and you can see how it impacts the bottom line of your business. Knowing how each landing page affect your revenues can help your decision making and your marketing in the future. 

Those are some of the major reasons why every podcast needs to use landing pages.

How to use landing pages to convert more podcast listeners into leads

You are creating consistent content for your podcast and your audience is starting to grow, but there’s one question that’s on your mind, how do I get podcast listeners to check out what I do? How do I know if any of them are potential customers? The answer to that question is to use n a call to action. The next question is where do you send them? A dedicated landing page is an answer. Why use a dedicated landing page?

A Distraction-free environment for your offer

A landing page is a dedicated webpage without navigation links, sidebars. There’s only just your offer. What this does, is it helps the reader focus only on your offer and has to decide whether to take it or leave it.  Using such a tool will help your cause of growing your business. There are multiple ways to design it but it all boils down to 2 options, a two-column layout with a form or a one-column layout.

Landing pages for free offers for list building

An email list is important to build your business, and a landing page is one of the tools used to achieve this. There is the two-column layout. One side has of the book or free gift and the other, the form and text explaining why they should get it. 

I like this layout simply because it makes the reader see everything at a glance. There is nothing to scroll down to as well. So nothing to distract the reader just everything they need to know to decide. 

Landing pages for selling

Single column layouts are one of the most common for sales offers. But it depends on what you are selling that will make its use effective. Courses, services, consultations, software, products are all the examples I have seen one column layout use.

The reason for this is for the purpose of filtering leads to the landing page. They can be long or short, and usually, there is the buy button multiple times on the page. 

Two-column layouts are effective for selling as well. For things like books and physical products. It looks cleaner and helps readers to see the offer at a glance.

As you can see from the pictures and examples using landing pages with your call to actions go hand in hand.

How many emails should you create for a sales funnel?

You have lots of ideas for your podcast that create lots of value for your listeners. You have a system to get them on your email list to automate your marketing. The question is how many emails should you send them before they are ready to buy? This can be frustrating, but luckily I found some model sequences you can try out what works.

The question of how many emails you should create for your sales funnel might come up when you sit down to write. The number will vary depending on what you sell. For the sequence to work its best to follow a system.

What do customers need to know before they buy?

When writing the email sequence decide on what persons need to know to be ready to buy from you. Lay that out over a 3 to 4 emails before you send your sales email. How you do this is to follow a system to drip the content over a period to your list. Derek Halpern from social triggers follows a basic sequence when launching his courses. Pain, desire, many options, the final option, best option.

This is a sequence he uses daily to launch his courses. In each email. He addresses the needs of different types of buyers. So what are some sequences you can use?

3 – 4 email sequence 

I first learnt about this sequence in Dan Kennedy’s book “Magnetic Marketing.” It’s a simple sequence you send 3 – 4 emails to your list. How it works you send a few emails adding more value to the lead magnet or free information gift. Then in the final email, you ask for the sale. This short sequence builds urgency and if your customers are ready to buy they will respond. These emails can be sent out every other day. 

7 email sequence 

This model I learnt from Ramit Sethi of growth lab. What he teaches is similar to the 5-day launch but the content is a bit different. The launch cycle is a bit longer. How can you apply this?  In the 7 email sequence take the time to explain what you sell and the benefits. Explain the problem you address, talk about the solution and present yourself as the best option. You will be laying out all the emails you need to present your offer. 

Test these ideas out in your business and adjust it base on the results. 

How to create content to match consumer buying behaviour

A marketing funnel is a systematic way to convert casual visitors into paying customers. How you implement this depends on how people buy what you sell. One thing that will make or break your marketing funnel is your content. What do you say at each step of the way to move persons closer to buying from you?

Talk about the problem

The first stage of the marketing funnel is attracting your ideal customers to your website, or to listen to your podcast. What do you say at this point? Talk about the problem or issues they are facing. This is a great way to build a relationship with your listeners or readers and also to build their trust. Once they feel confident, they will want to learn more.

Recently I went to get my eyes checked and then went online to purchase my glasses. The company was zenni optical suggested to me by a  co-worker. On the company’s website, they shared information about “blue light” blocking lenses. transition lenses are generally what is  prescribed, but the blue light lense got my attention. I instantly started googling to see if I should really get it. The one question I wanted to answer was what is the difference between the blue light lens and transition lens. Once I became comfortable with the answers I got, I added the feature to my glasses on check out. 

With all that said, the point is, there are questions that your customers will ask. Your priority is to make sure these questions are answered, and the answers readily available upon search. You may answer these questions on your blog or podcast for instance. 

Make a list of all the questions potential customers usually ask and start creating content to answer these questions. This can then be used as a tool to get them to join your email list. 

Teach customers how to buy your product/service

I’m not telling you to share all your trade secrets, your aim is to help people make better decisions and get value for money. In my case, it was buying a new pair of tested glasses. What led to my decision to buy online was the fact that it was very expensive to buy it from the local store, even with health insurance. My search on  Zenni Optica, based on the recommendation, resulted in my purchase. (by the way, this post is not a paid post, I’m just a happy customer.) This experience is a perfect example of the idea to nurture your prospect. You get to build even more trust and prepare them for your offer.

When you prepare your customers to buy, they make a more informed decision and reduce the incidence of fewer regrets about ar purchase. Another plus to this is that customers are more willing to tell others about you as well. 

Following my experience, I told my mom about it and I’m now considering to buy my son’s next pair from them as well. That’s the kind of impact your marketing can have with the right content. 

Send customers an offer to buy

In sequence, following that phase of nurturing to where the decision is made to make a purchase you can send potential customers an offer to buy. Don’t wait too long though. After a few emails send them the offer. Who is ready to buy will respond. For the others just continue teaching them about your offer. 

you can get customers to buy from you by offering discounts, special packages with your main offer plus add-ons. 

Example a course plus one to one coaching, and live group interactions. Or in my case with the glasses, I got the glasses plus free features, the case and a cleaning cloth. 

That’s how you go about creating content for your marketing funnel.