As a writer, you need to quickly learn how to sell yourself, especially if you are keen on building a career out of your craft. When you are first starting out in trying to get your name out there, it can be quite daunting. Not only because you usually have so much competition, and it is hard to know how to make yourself known or seen.
However, at some point, it becomes necessary to not worry about others so much and just focus on promoting yourself and your writing as best as you can. As it happens, there are a number of key approaches to promoting your writing, and they are all worth a go.
You need to have a web presence if you want to be known as a writer; it’s that simple. But the nature of that web presence is something which you might well have trouble molding into the right form. If that sounds like you, don’t worry; you are far from being alone. Everyone struggles when it comes to knowing how to present yourself online.
The most important thing here is that you get some hosting for a domain and build a website for you and your writing. This can be a static vanity page, a click-through portfolio of your recent and best work, or pretty much whatever else you think might work. Set it up, keep it updated, and draw people to it at every opportunity.
If you are not yet part of a writing circle, you might want to ask yourself why. Many successful and serious writers are members of writing circles, and the promotional benefits of them are long known. Generally, such groups have plenty of opportunity for allowing you to promote your work – and when those chances arise, you should make the most of them that you possibly can.
Wherever you live, there is probably a writing circle near you, so be sure to make the most of that communal feel. Join up, and you will notice what a benefit you can get from such a group almost immediately. If you find it is not useful enough, there is no obligation and you can always leave again – but that is unlikely to happen.
There is a reason that even huge multinational businesses still rely on word of mouth to carry out a large quantity of their marketing: it works. If you are not already “bigging” yourself up when you talk to others, you should seriously think about it.
No matter what, you will find that this makes a huge difference regarding how soon your work is spread and how many people know about you, so make sure that you carry out word of mouth promotion whenever you possibly can. It’s easy, enjoyable and free of charge, and people generally don’t mind you doing it either. There really is no harm in it, and it just might be the one core practice that sets your writing career well on the way to huge success.
The ecommerce explosion in recent years has made entrepreneurship far more accessible than it has been in times gone by, and many people who never thought they’d own a business are turning that attitude around. If you finally feel ready to quit your day job, and make the leap into becoming an ecommerce business owner, here are three key secrets to success in this popular niche…
Treat It Like a Thriving Offline Business
In the beginning, a lot of ecommerce store owners think of their business as more of a hobby than their livelihood: something fun and fulfilling to do in their spare time. If the store isn’t making you any big bucks just yet, it can be easy to see it as a hobby, and little else.
However, if you really want to see it grow into a thriving operation, you need to start treating it as if it were one already. Regardless of the size, your ecommerce store is a real business, and you need to treat it the same way that Fortune 500 CEOs treat their corporations. This will stimulate greater growth and greater wealth than an attitude that your ecommerce store is just a little personal project.
Find the Right Software
As a business owner, you need to have enough depth of vision to see any major issues long before they actually materialize. For a lot of ecommerce store owners, software like Shopify is an aspect of the operation that needs to be addressed on an ongoing basis, as it’s an essential cornerstone in the whole operation.
Cybersecurity, usability, scalability, digital marketing, and a whole host of other factors need to be taken into account when you’re picking the right software to lean on. One of the biggest ecommerce growth killers is business owners failing to use the right software for their store. When you’re browsing different platforms, make sure you’re choosing one that’s scalable, user-friendly, secure, and supported by a solid array of marketing and conversion tools.
The right platform can also depend heavily on the needs and goals of your business. Make sure you’re identifying the main challenges you’re up against, and scouring the market enough to find a tool that matches your requirements.
Know Where your Customers Are
Being familiar with your target market is one of the fundamental necessities of business success. Know who your target audience are, and where to find them. Fail to take this step, and you’ll just wind up wasting time and money on marketing efforts that don’t lead to profits.
Tapping into the right social media channels, platforms for publishing your content, and traditional marketing materials, are essential to the short and long-term success of your business. This all depends on the products you’re offering, and the gap in the market you’re aiming to exploit.
With the sheer amount of competition out there these days, marketing your ecommerce store effectively is more important than ever. Approach this with a blasé attitude, and you’ll cripple your operation from the word “go”.
At this point, the idea of a business not having a website probably seems pretty ridiculous. What was once only really the realm of incredibly successful, or very specific, businesses, is now the standard method through which the vast majority of customers find new businesses.
Thanks to search engines like Google, customers no longer use things like the phone book to find businesses, they just straight onto the computer. Because of this, a lot of businesses but huge amounts of time and effort into their websites. This can make things incredibly frustrating when it seems as though customers aren’t showing any real interest in your website.
Of course, there are plenty of reasons why this might be happening, but here are some of the most common and how you might go about avoiding them:
This is one of the most common issues for many startups. You have a website, but you can’t seem to get anyone to visit it. A lot of the time this comes down to one simple thing: search engine optimization. Search engine optimization (or SEO) is one of the most important aspects of digital marketing.
Simply put, SEO is the use of keywords and phrases to increase your ranking on search engines like Google. The more, and better integrated, keywords you’re using, the better your SEO. It gets a lot more complicated than that, but that’s the basic idea behind it.
If you’re struggling to get your SEO up to scratch, outsourcing it to a dedicated SEO agency might be a good idea.
It looks terrible
There are entire blogs dedicated to websites that look truly awful and the last thing you want if for yours to end up on one of them. Far too often, amazing businesses with really groundbreaking products are ignored because customers take one look at their website and decide that they’re not worth their time. This might sound shallow, but it’s a natural response when there are so many different businesses out there.
Make sure that your site is well designed, clearly laid out, uses high-quality images from sites like EyeEm and fits within current design trends. Look at some of the most successful websites in the world for ideas of exactly how you can go about creating a site that people will actually want to visit.
Where your website was once the only source of information about your business online, it now acts as more of a central hub than anything else. Rather than only ever visiting your websites, chances are that customers are going to be more interested in it as a place to find things like your social media sites and your blog. If you’re not using your website to connect to these places, then it could well end up seeming pointless to a lot of customers.
Make sure that you have clear links to all of your social media pages on your website and that your social media makes it easy for people to find and access the websites itself. By spreading yourself more evenly across the internet, you open up connections with many more customers than you would otherwise have access to.
Are you a new business just starting out, or perhaps an older business that has, all of a sudden, noticed a drop in customers? Whichever it is, if your business is lacking customers, you need to do something about it. Without a solid customer base, your chances of success are low. The question is, of course: how can you go about boosting your customer base?
If you don’t have enough customers, the worst thing that you can do is ignore the problem – it won’t get better on its own. What you need to do is actively attempt to give your customer base a boost. For this, focusing on the needs of your customers is key, as SmallBusiness.chron.com states.
To help you do that, and also to hold onto the customers you already have, below are some killer tactics that all the most successful entrepreneurs swear by when it comes to business success. Implement these, and your customer base should start to increase.
One of the best ways to retain the customers that you have and ascertain new ones is to ask your customers for their opinions about your brand, products or services. You can also ask prospective customers as well.
By asking your customers and prospective customers for their feedback, this shows them that you value what they think – consumers like to feel valued. The easiest way to get feedback is to set up an online survey via your website or social media channels. You will get extra brownie points if you offer an incentive to people who fill out your survey – such as a prize.
Talking of prizes, another simple way to boost your customer base is to run competitions. What you want to do is run competitions that require people to subscribe to your email newsletters and follow your social media channels to be entered. This is a great way to increase your online reach and to grow your customer base.
When it comes to the prize that you offer, this can be something linked to your business, such as a selection of your products, or it could be a prize such as a weekend away or a spa day. For a prize that doesn’t break the bank, such as a short stay away, perhaps using sites like DontPayFull.com could be worthwhile. These deal sites always have great discounts on offer, which make them ideal for using to source prizes for any competitions that you run.
If there’s one thing that consumers love, it’s a brand that puts customer service before anything else. If you want to up your customer base, aim to make providing quality customer service a priority. This means handling complaints in the right way, with grace and understanding. It also means being easier to contact – a lot of consumers prefer to use instant messaging to contact brands rather than waiting on hold on the phone, for instance.
Get your customer service right, and your business will be much more likely to succeed; that’s a fact. So, there you have it: all the best tactics for giving your customer base a boost. Good luck!
Investing in IT systems is pretty much a given for modern businesses. However, it’s not as simple as looking in a catalog and choosing something that looks nice – you need to take a slow and steady approach before you line up a system that matches your direct business needs. Let’s take a look at some of the critical questions you should ask yourself before spending a cent on new IT.
Is it necessary?
We live in a world where there are a bewildering amount of technologies to invest in if we wanted to. But this enormous amount of choice can often lead to bad decisions. It’s important to remind yourself that technology is there for one reason only – to make things easier for our business.
So, unless you can identify clear improvements in productivity, efficiency, growth or any other business-critical reason, the likelihood is a new IT system will not be worth the time or money.
As we mentioned above, technology should make your life easier. So, while you might, in theory, be able to invest in something that should give you massive productivity gains or build consumer trust, the tech has to be simple enough for people to use it. Over complicated systems that promise the earth but take an age to set up, use, maintain, and update will often lead to loss of time, not productivity improvements.
Who is going to run it?
It’s all well and good saying you will invest in IT equipment – but who will look after it for you? Unless you are an IT security expert as well as a successful entrepreneur, you will need help. DRaaS for businesses and tech-heavy workplaces are an option, of course.
And, you should also consider building up an in-house IT team to look after your systems. Ultimately, the choice is down to you, but it’s one that you need to cost, consider, and measure to ensure you make the right choice for your company.
Never, ever, embrace a new IT system without knowing about the risks involved. The threats from cyber criminals and hackers have never been higher than they are today, and your business will be in danger. It is vital that you have the right knowledge of those risks if you want to avoid severe disruption and a lot of damage being caused to your company.
And, while hiring a third party IT service to deal with security can help, it’s also important to understand that you need to invest in training – for yourself, and your employees.
How will this benefit the business?
There are many ways that tech systems can help your business. But you must have an idea and focus on what those benefits will be. It is vital for you and your board to discuss the reasons why investment is necessary, and how it will help you compete, grow, and take on the new tech.
Frank conversations are required, and unless you have valid reasons that match your business needs, it’s always best to hold off on making a decision until everyone is on board.