When you are an entrepreneur, it doesn’t matter if you are a baby boomer, a millennial or even a generation X. We all share that one common trait, we hate working for someone else. So, we work insane hours (that make our friends look at us in awe) to get a side business off the ground.
The big problem?
Despite global markets being in a fluid state of motion, consumer budgets are growing tighter.
Trust has never been harder to earn from a business perspective.
So, there you have it. If you are not seeing the results you were hoping for from your business –
it’s probably because you need to start thinking outside the box.
Which is exactly what I want to help you with in this article. We include three tips to help you start off the right way straight from the word go.
Step One | The Most Important Step – Know Your Business
Here is a prime example, back in 2016 a young entrepreneur started a fitness blog. It all started on Instagram, and grew from there. But over time, the lack of vision, and the failure to launch a brand-image irreparably hurt the business.
This step may be common knowledge, but we cannot emphasize how important it is to know your business.
When you are working a full-time job, and trying to launch a business on the side – you will get distracted. You will lose focus.
Which is why the first thing you want to do is define your business. Ask yourself what is your vision? Where do you want the business to be in 5-years?
But the most important aspect of your written plan should be what problem do you solve for customers? What makes you unique over competitors, and why are potential customers interested in that?
Here is a guide to writing a simple business plan for complete beginners.
Don’t Be Afraid To Think Outside The Box – Being Different Is A Good Thing
Here is a scary fact, over 543,000 businesses are started up MONTHLY in America. That’s right people just like you, looking to escape their mundane office jobs.
But it gets worse.
More than half of these businesses fail – every month.
Now there are tons of reasons why. From a lack of work ethic, right down to an unclear vision for the business. But another reason why businesses fail more than they succeed is because they forget in the business world – you want to stick out like a sore thumb.
You want to offer a unique angle to a service or product that your competitors are offering.
Whether it be through unique, high-quality social media content. Informative blog posts and podcasts, cut-edge discounts and specials… or if you really want to be unique, why not revolutionize your marketing campaign; personalize with customers and build trust by creating your own cards.
There are so many ways that you can differentiate yourself – it is important to take the time and put some thought into it. You’re trying to be better than the other businesses out there. Don’t think you can’t come up with the next big thing. Put some real thought into it and you’ll be surprised with the results.
Failure Is The Skipping Stone To Success
The biggest mistake you can make is to harbour jealousy when it comes to entrepreneurs who have made it in life.
“We all reap the seeds that we sow”
What you may forget is these individuals in the nice cars, with the dough to show off. The businesses that are considered pioneers in the industry; there is nothing different behind their business and yours.
These were not overnight success stories. You need to be prepared to fail. Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, even Gary Vaynerchuk all hit their own stumbling blocks, and look where they are now.
Whether it’s as simple as a bad review from a new client, or a huge milestone falls for the roof – stay strong, and keep working. You will make it as long as you never lose sight of the end goal.
Here are some great tips to help you cope with business failure.
Make Sure You Maximize Your Productivity Daily
We all have those days. Where we think we are working hard. We seem to be super busy. But at the end of the day, we look back and think, “How did I waste so much time today.”
The problem is.
When you are trying to work 2-jobs at once, well… wasting time is not something you can afford. We all have the same minutes, hours, and seconds in a day – it’s a simple matter of how you invest them.
A great tip is to make use of organization tools, I personally love Trello, it keeps me on my game at all times.
If you really want to maximize your after-hour work productivity to exponentially grow your business, make use of a sweet little time productivity trick known as Pomodoro. Which essentially involves removing distractions for 25-minutes at a time, and focusing solely on work.
These tips will help you excel at your job. Keep these in mind – and think of new strategies to help you along the way. Your ideas will really help you and you’ll be thankful in the long run.
Susan Ranford is an expert on career coaching, business advice, and workplace rights. She has written for New York Jobs, IAmWire, and ZipJob. In her blogging and writing, she seeks to shed light on issues related to employment, business, and finance to help others understand different industries and find the right job fit for them.
How Augmented Reality Represents A Marketing Bonanza
The mobile augmented reality (AR) market is projected to reach a staggering $79.77 Billion by 2022 and will be one of the fastest growing sectors in upcoming years.
Functionality has already spread far and wide. Emergency responders use AR to help them train to coordinate dangerous situations. In healthcare, an AR scanner called AccuVein projects vein density on a patient’s arm in real time so injections and taking blood can be quick and easy. Another App can even project surgeon’s hands onto another doctor so they can match movements for complex procedures.
AR is prevalent in helping those with disabilities. Recently, Temple University received part of a larger AR related grant to create glasses that would facilitate captioning for live performance for HOH and Deaf patrons. The same tech can be used for ESL or Foreign language speakers.
However, people probably best recognize AR from games like Pokemon Go — where frenzied players were able to capture their favorite creature avatars in order to gain advancement in the game. Retailers at the time were quick to realize that a Pokemon stop near (or in) their location meant increased foot traffic and tried to capitalize on the phenomenon.
From there marketers could truly realize the potential for AR tech. Ostensibly there are a few of major avenues where AR intersects with marketing right now.
Google Glass ended up looking a little goofy, but the technology promised by apps like Google Lens, which gives consumers ways to access businesses easily just by looking at the facade, may revive the glasses wearable. In AR, companies can offer discounts and coupons that entice passersby or using software like wikitude, the app can actually lead a customer to their desired location. Already, Gatwick Airport uses a sophisticated wayfinding AR feature to help people get to their gates quickly and efficiently. It is possible for any business to incorporate this kind of tech too.
AR is usually thought of as a way to add imagery to a screen, but it can also be used as a focusing tool to take away distractions. For example, there is tech being designed to help grocery shoppers get only what they need for a recipe or to see only gluten free options so they don’t pick the wrong items.
Another way AR is being used effectively in retail markets is in product assessment prior to purchase. This is accomplished in a number of innovative ways by smart retailers. Ikea’s virtual catalog has become a standout in the area with the ability to scan your room and digitally place a piece of their furniture in a spot of your choosing so customers can see how they like the look and color of something before purchase.
Other retailers have created variations on this same theme. Warby Parker scans your face and places their glasses on you, so you can avoid going to the store to try on all their styles. L’Oreal has a way to see how their makeup might look if you were to apply it. Clothing retailers also are allowing shoppers to visualize clothing without going to a changing room. And some even make changing room options easier with smart mirrors that allow you to see the garment you are wearing in different styles or colors without having to search around the racks.
In a similar vein, architects, interior designers and the real estate industry has taken up AR for their marketing efforts. Prospective clients can virtually visit their construction projects or look at their current furniture in a planned new house.
Other retailers have seen how AR helps with general product engagement. Lego has created AR stimulated kits that “come to life” when seen with their app. Disney has similar functionality with their coloring books. Movie posters also have been using AR to target cinema goers, giving them an additional thrilling glimpse into a film while waiting in line for popcorn.
Is AR Tech Too complicated for me?
The most intriguing part is how AR is becoming more democratic in its use. Applications like Adobe Spark AR and Apple’s ARkit allow anyone to get in on the ground floor with things like Instagram logos and simple AR additions to branding.
The question of how to assess metrics however, is still evolving. How does an AR view compare with a video view, for example? Marketing consultancies like CleverTap provide strategies to connect meaningfully with demographics and to assess ROI — and they also have get to know AR articles and infographics to help marketers get the hang of why and how to use AR for their own products.
See the infographic below for a quick guide to the ins-and-outs of AR tech. The best part, however, is that the applications for AR are still being worked out. Anyone could have the next innovation in AR in the marketing sphere — maybe a floating fish that eats your emotions will be the next big thing. Or maybe you have a good new idea.
Best practices for writing a follow-up email
Technology has certainly changed the way we talk to and reach out to established and potential customers (and family and friends, of course). Sure, we can “talk” to them broadly when it comes to websites and social media—letting everyone in on events and news and important information. But email has replaced a lot of the one-on-one conversations we used to have on the phone or in person. And email has become a great way to introduce, or to re-introduce, oneself to those potential and established customers.
That’s why one of the worst feelings is when you reach out to someone and don’t hear anything back—just silence. There are lots of questions that probably race through your head. So what do you do—abandon email as communication the second time around? On the contrary: Sending a followup email is something you can and should do, and can do well. This graphic explains it.
What are DMP-DSP Hybrids and How Can They Help Marketers?
Back in the day, to advertise your new product, you would have to put up a billboard, or pay for a full-page ad in a major magazine. Then, in 1993, the first internet ad was created. Now the internet is filled with countless “billboards” — everything from a small travel blog with an ardent following to CNN Money is ready and willing to accept your dollars to display your ads. At the same time, advertisers are awash with user information, thanks to the ubiquity of cookies and big data. However, that treasure trove of insights is just noise unless it can be organized, analyzed, and used.
Marketers need specialized tools to make sense of it all. They require platforms that will help them get a grip on the massive amount of customer data available, so they can use that information to effectively advertise to the right audience for the right price.
These tools are known as data management platforms (DMPs), which organize huge amounts of information, and demand side platforms (DSPs), which analyze DMPs and use that information to bid on and place digital ads. DMPs and DSPs need each other to create a successful digital advertising ecosystem. That’s why it’s no surprise the latest innovation is DMP-DSP hybrid platforms.
Is a DMP-DSP hybrid the right call for your advertising department? Before you make that decision, you need to understand how DMPs and DSPs work. Then you can appreciate the unique benefits and drawbacks a DMP-DSP hybrid platform presents.
What is a data management platform?
For almost the entire history of the marketing profession, the biggest challenge advertisers faced was trying to collect information about their target audience. Then the internet and cookies (text files that let websites know you’ve visited before) happened. Now, sifting through audience data is like trying to drink from a firehose. Salesforce describes the challenge like this: “The people [whom advertisers] most care about are constantly investigating, considering, starting and stopping transactions. Further, those consumers leave a robust — but daunting — sea of clues and data signals in their wake across a dizzying array of platforms, channels, and devices.”
Making sense of this data is the challenge data management platforms are designed to solve. Jack Marshall defines DMPs in an article for Digiday as “a data warehouse. It’s a piece of software that sucks up, sorts, and houses information, then spits it out in a way that’s useful for marketers, publishers, and other businesses.”
In other words, DMPs collect the firehose of data and turn it into useful, understandable insights. DMPs can absorb your company’s data (known as first-party data), including survey responses, customer website activity (including actions like cart abandonment), and social media engagement. DMPs can then sync this information with second-party data from your partners, and third-party information from data suppliers.
With DMPs, your company can benefit from:
- Advanced audience segmentation and analytics
- Brand refinement
- Website, social media, and app analytics
- Content personalization
- Price and inventory readjustments based on audience analytics
Overall, your DMP can provide you with a much greater and more nuanced understanding of your buyer personas, which can lead to stronger marketing. One of the most useful attributes of a DMP, however, is its ability to connect with and talk to a demand side platform. A DMP provides the information a DSP needs to make better advertising purchases on your behalf.
What is a demand side platform?
The internet is big: It is full of websites, e-zines, message boards, and social media hubs where your audience likes to hang out. A human can’t track down every single potential advertising platform, much less figure out the best ones to use to reach their ideal audience.
Enter the demand side platform. This software can do all of that work for you as long as it has enough useful information to work with. A DSP uses the information and insights from your DMP to bid on available digital media advertising slots on your behalf. The program uses real-time bidding (RTB) and connects to existing ad exchanges and supply side platforms (SSP). The good news is that you don’t need to know how all the internal mechanics work to use a DSP.
Once a DSP is in place and fueled by good information from a well-fed DMP, it will help you get your digital ads to the right people at the right place for the right amount of money. Best of all, this is all done automatically. A good DSP will also allow you to analyze your advertising results so you can tweak your advertising and get a bigger bang for your buck.
What is a DMP-DSP hybrid?
In a DMP-DSP hybrid, these platforms exist in a symbiotic relationship. One of the primary uses of a DMP is to feed its information to a DSP. This information allows a DSP to provide you with better-targeted ad buys. Without a DSP, a DMP would essentially be just a big repository of information. Without a DMP, a DSP would be flying blind as it tried to book digital ad placements.
When DMPs and DSPs were first introduced to the digital advertising landscape, they existed as separate platforms. Advertisers would have to purchase both a DMP and a DSP, then link them together. Recently, some DMP and DSP providers have started to offer DMP-DSP hybrid platforms. A hybrid can either be a DMP with DSP capabilities or a DSP with DMP capabilities.
Either way, a DMP-DSP hybrid works as both a DMP and a DSP platform. It absorbs and organizes information and uses that information to place digital ads on behalf of an advertiser. Before you go out shopping for a DMP-DSP hybrid, let’s look at some of its benefits and drawbacks.
Should you invest in a DMP-DSP hybrid?
The benefit of the DMP-DSP hybrid is obvious. Instead of owning two separate systems that have to talk to each other — which could lead to inefficiencies, miscommunication, and higher costs — a DMP-DSP hybrid is a single system. You only have to work with one vendor, and the system is more streamlined and synced than it would be with two separate systems.
Investing in a DMP-DSP hybrid may seem like a no-brainer, but there are notable drawbacks. Michael Sweeny of PIWIK Pro points out that within the hybrid model, “the DMP component is only useful in the context of media buying — it can’t be used for anything else (such as personalizing the content on a website).” Additionally, your hybrid vendor may be able to use your DMP information for its own purposes, which threatens your control over your own user information.
Choose the best option for you.
At the end of the day, use common sense. Do research on the available DMPs, DSPs, and hybrid options. Make sure you are clear on your goals, budget, and personal preferences. Carefully study the features of each available system and decide which setup works best for you. You may appreciate the simplicity of a DMP-DSP hybrid, or you may prefer a standalone DMP that gives you greater functionality and more control over your user data. Now that you know your options, you can make the best decision for your company.
By Jessica Bennett