Working with businesses owners we see a lot of mistakes and successes. Especially for the new business or freelancer, the mistakes below can completely destroy your business before it has the chance to succeed.

Mistake #1: Striving for Perfection

“Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.”

– Salvador Dali

As a type A perfectionist, I struggled with this. It also is the number one thing I see people starting a business struggle with, as well. Your business is your baby and you are pouring your heart and sole into making it a success, but being too wrapped up in the little things can keep your from actually going out and finding clients. If you find yourself:

  • Stressing over your logo
  • Tweaking every aspect of your website
  • Rereading your introduction email over and over to make it just right (but still not hitting send)
  • Working on perfecting your elevator speech before you attend your first networking group

then you may be focusing too much on being a perfectionist. Trust me, though thoughtful branding can help you land more clients, if you are receiving personal referrals, it isn’t going to stop you from getting paying clients. People choose who they are going to work with based on your personal connection not because of what your logo looks like. Then there is your website… Perfection for every site is a moving target. Your products and services will change. You will notice contacts respond more to one aspect of your business rather than another. As for the next two points, you are procrastinating! It is okay to want to define your messaging, but just getting out there and putting yourself out to prospects is far more important. Sure you want to make sure your messaging is just right when you reach out to that dream prospect or mentor, but these shouldn’t be your first contact. The best part about putting yourself out there before you think you are ready is that you get to understand what the market actually wants and needs! When I first started Boundless Marketing, I had my dream service offerings in mind. Turned out that nobody even understood what I was talking about! There wasn’t a market. I drastically shifted my messaging and began signing contracts almost immediately.

Mistake #2: Thinking you can get clients just by posting things online.

“The richest people in the world look for and build networks, everyone else looks for work. Marinate on that for a minute.”

– Robert T. Kiyosaki

The internet and social media has shifted many of our mindsets about how you can get clients. Even through online channels you need to create a personal relationship with your network. Just posting your blog posts online isn’t going to cut it. I recently signed up for a program to Gain 100 Followers in 3 Days, just to see how other professionals where growing and starting their email lists. Guess what, these influential bloggers and business owners all start int the same place – asking friends, colleagues, clients, and prospects individually if they wanted to join their email list! If you find yourself:

  • Wondering why your networks haven’t converted into paying clients
  • Haven’t asked your mom, sibling, aunt, and grandparent if they want to join your list
  • Are frustrated seeing all these other people succeed

Then you may just be making this mistake. Start going to networking groups and collecting business cards. Take the email address you collect and shoot out a quick note following the template below :

“Hi NAME, I recently met you at EVENT NAME and loved learning about your business. I am in the process of starting an email list focusing on 3 TOPICS YOU WILL BE WRITING ABOUT, and was wondering if you would be interested in receiving the emails. My goal with list is to LIST BENEFITS. Are you interested in learning more?”

Not everyone will say they are interested, but the ones who do will help you grow your contacts quickly! We work with a lot of businesses who see varying amount of success through their social media marketing. The ones who see a return quickly are the clients who are complementing our marketing management services with their own outreach and networking. To see the best results from your marketing, you need to treat social media as you do in person networking. Create personal relationships and treat handles and usernames as individual people not just another account.

Mistake #3: Not Understanding Your Own Values

“When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier.”

– Roy E. Disney

Okay, so this one does tie into the branding of your business, but it really is getting out being your authentic self. Knowing your values helps you to better manage your time, set priorities, and work with clients you enjoy. If you find yourself:

  • Wishing there were more hours in the day
  • Being drained after meetings with prospects
  • Continually wishing you had done X, Y, or Z

Then you may be making this mistake. One of my first clients taught me this lesson the hard way. My values are Relationships (family), Creativity, Challenges, Health, Experiences, and Knowledge. Shortly after I began my business full time, I traveled to my brother’s wedding. I was ecstatic to see him tie the knot and spend time with my family. Unfortunately, a new client nearly ruined my weekend. As a people pleaser, I started bending over backwards for the client and found myself anxiously checking email during the rehearsal dinner. I wasn’t being present. Finally, I recognized I would resent my actions if I didn’t shut off all devices to be there for my family. Sure there was a nasty email from my client, but we worked through our differences once the owner understood my boundaries. If you find yourself stressed about client conversations, I urge you to lay out boundaries, guidelines, and a list of responsibilities. You may loose some clients, but they are the people who take up 80% of your time. Think of all the other things you could do to grow your business if you had 80% of your time back!

What mistakes have you made in your own business that kept you from success?

3 Mistakes that can Ruin Your Business and What to do About Them. Working with businesses owners we see a lot of mistakes and successes. Especially for the new business or freelancer, the mistakes below can completely destroy your business before it has the chance to succeed.

Take a moment to stop and think about your business purpose. What is your why?

Your purpose is a reason beyond your products and services. All businesses, especially new businesses, should have a clear message about their purpose. Your business can benefit from having a purpose because it guides your every action and decision.

Having a purpose let’s you vocalize what it is you are actually doing. This provides clarity in those moments we all have where we stop in our tracks and think, “Wait, what am I doing with my life?”

In Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t (affiliate link), Jim Collins asks the three questions:
1. What am I most passionate about?
2. What can I be the best in the world at?
3. Now, how can I make money?

When you are starting your business, focus on these three questions. Take your time before you jump in to ensure your business aligns with something larger than yourself.

Before I started Boundless Marketing, I was pretty clear with myself about defining my personal values, but still in the first year, I often found myself working with other business owners who just didn’t align with those. I remember one phone conversation I had the day of my brother’s wedding where I was being reamed out for saying I would be unavailable, even though I had submitted all agreed upon deliverables a day early. I should have had then foresight to fire this new client on the spot, but alas, it took 7 more months of walking on eggshells before I finally broke free and trusted that I could in fact turn down business if it was going to cause me anxiety.

So what are my values, you may ask?

Health, Relationships, Creativity, Knowledge, and Challenges.

How can you figure out your own values?

The Value Driven Business: The Simple Strategy To Create A Business You Love (affiliate link) offers a simple framework to incorporate your values into your business.

We also are working on a tool to help you sort through your own values. Please enter your name and email below to be kept up to date on the progress of this tool, which you can then use for free for your own business and clients!

 

Do you find that you spend hours rethinking and rewording your headlines? What if there was a way to speed up the time it takes to write a compelling article title, email subject, or ad header that actually gets clicked?

Have you ever wondered if more people would read your blogs is they had a different title? Probably! The most important step to writing is taking the time to understand your customers’ wants and needs.

So how do you write a winning headline that  will get you heard?

The following “formulas” from Mike Samuels of the McMethod are proven to get your read!

1. A Question…

Ask the most pressing question in your niche.

Example: What is the best software for webinars?

2. How-to …

How to X (try to use numbers in your X)

Example: How to make $5,000 in 2 weeks.

3. Liar, Liar

X Lies About Y. Here the goal is to induce fear. Your goal is to invert a typical relationship of trust.

Example: 7 Lies your marketing director told you about measuring social ROI

4. The Promise …

Make a big promise about results client’s can see.

Example: Get 1,000 subscribers to your blog in 3 days.

5. A Comparison

Why X [is better than, instead of, rather than] y. This works well if the comparison dispels major myths in your industry.

Example: Why you should be building relationships with referral partners not end consumers.

And my favorite quick formula for writing winning headlines:

End Result Customer Wants + Specific Period of Time + Address the Objections

Example: Make $100 in your first week while working only 1 hour per day.

Why do these headlines work?

Following formulas like the ones above increase clicks because they are specific, client-centric, and give actionable tactics that lead to real results. As long as your blog ties into the headline that you write, your readers will thank you. Most importantly, these formulas keep you from being vague.

As you are writing the headline, also make sure you know exactly what your client wants. McMethod gives the example of not saying “Lose 10 Pounds” if your client actually wants to “get ripped”. This obviously ties into being specific and client-centric, but can often be overlooked!

Have you worked on transforming your headlines and titles? How have you seen your open and click rates change using these formulas?

Write a killed headline in a quarter of the time

Humanizing your brand is crucial to the success of your business. We all know that brands are made by humans. But let’s face it. Some of you have probably dealt with some businesses that use a monotone branded voice across all channels.

People connect to and trust other people. They are more likely to do business with you if they know that know that they are interacting with a real person, not a money-making machine that pushes sales-heavy content and deliver marketing messages like a robot. People are more likely to trust you if you start making your brand’s voice more real.

In this blog post, you’ll find 4 ways to humanize your brand. Use these tips to get you started today.

Be available

Most business just schedule posts on their social media pages to keep people updated about what’s going on in their business. What they fail to realize is that humanizing a brand includes being available to answer people’s questions, concerns and even responding to comments. It’s not enough to post regularly to your social media platforms. Someone has to take time to do engage with your audience.

Use everyday languages

Most brands engage with their fans and followers on social media. To build more meaningful relationships, use everyday language during conversations. Talk to them as you would with your family and friends. This way, you appear more approachable and human to them.

No one wants to listen to industry jargons and business-speak while having casual conversations. Remember, you’re in social media, not in a business meeting.

Show sense of humor

Humor works well for brands, especially when used on social media. People love sharing things that make them laugh. Well-placed humor draws an audience’s attention in and helps you engage with your fans and followers. It shows people that your team enjoys humor just like everyone else and that you’re not taking everything too seriously. It’s fine to inject humor in your posts, as long as your humor isn’t hurting anyone.

Introduce the people behind your brand

People are often curious about the people behind the company and what they do on a regular basis. Go ahead and share photos or videos of your team hanging around and having a blast together. Share photos of during corporate events or team building. Share the photos and videos of your team being human. This will not only help humanize your brand, it will also help you build a stronger relationship with your clients and customers.

 

If you’re the content person for your brand, you’re probably busy creating pieces of content that aims to give out information about your products or services. You may also be focused in writing content that tell about your brand’s story. Amidst the churning out of content, have you ever stopped to think about why people choose to buy from your company? The answer is simple. It’s because they trust your company.

Whether you’re creating content for your clients, existing customers or new prospects, it is important to keep in mind that the real purpose of content marketing is to build greater levels of trust with your audience. Trust and credibility are important to win the loyalty of your customers.

Use these tips to create content that will help you enter your customer’s world and become an important part of it:

Put people first

In order to build trust and enhance your influence, you need to remember who you’re writing for. The content you create should be relevant to the people you are trying to communicate with. Know their demographics, determine your niche focus and stick with it.

Deliver high quality and relevant content to your audience on a regular basis. Overtime, people will see your brand as a trusted authority. They’ll keep coming back for more once they see you as a trustworthy source.

Be consistent

People don’t have an idea how reliable you are unless they start working with you. But by observing your activities and posting schedule, they can decide whether or not they can rely on you.

Choose your social media channels carefully and commit to being there regularly. Also, make it habit to post new content on your blog and update your site from time to time. By turning up regularly and publishing high quality and relevant contents on a regular basis, you will start to earn the confidence of your marketplace.

Interact with your audience

Newsletters, social media updates and blog posts are a great way for your audience to stay up-to-date with your business. But it’s not supposed to be a one-way communication. Find ways to interact with your audience online.

You can ask questions, encourage them to send photos of them with your products, share their stories etc. Don’t forget to respond to mentions on social media and reply to comments on your blog. Through this strategy, you’ll be able to build a relationship with your target audience. Through this relationship, they will come to trust you.

How to Use Content Marketing to Build Trust and Credibility

In today’s mobile-driven world, producing content on a regular basis is a must in order to maintain a strong online presence. But with so many creative minds joining the social media sphere and great blogs emerging on almost a daily basis, capturing the attention of your target audience has become extremely difficult.

How do you cut through the noise and stand out in the online world? Visual content can help. Don’t believe us? Studies show that content with relevant images get 94% more views, likes and comments as compared to those without.

Here are some tips for creating awesome visual content for social media.

Customize stock photos

Stock photos have been tremendously helpful for those who don’t have a sizeable design budget and those who need them fast. But in order to stay with your brand and visual identity guidelines, it is important that you customize these photos. Plus, you wouldn’t want your audience to see the exact same photo in other sites, right? Tweak and customize stock photos to make them your own.

Use online editing tools

Creating visual content can be challenging. The good news is that you don’t have to be an expert in photo editing to create great images. There are several online editing tools like Canva, Picmonkey and RelayThat that can help you create stunning visual content that looks like it came from a professional graphic designer.

Add a call-to-action

Ideally, great visual content should eye-catching and entice people to take action. Now that you have successfully captured people’s attention, let them know what you want them to do. Do you want them to share, like or comment on your post? Or do you want them to click through your content? You can either add a call-to-action on the image, in the description or both.

Be consistent

Colors can help make your visual content pop. It can help you capture the attention of your target audience and provide amazing results. But it is also important to stay consistent with the type of visual element you use like colors.

Choose 2 to 4 colors and stick to them when creating visual content. Use it in your logo, texts, images etc. Remember, having a consistent color palette is a must.

social-media-habits-to-avoidSocial media has been an integral part of our lives. Since most people check on their social media accounts several times a day, having a stellar social presence is essential for your business’ growth. Most business owners, however, tend to develop some bad habits that prevent them from growing their audience.

Start by determining your bad habits and try to correct them before they cause any more harm. Here are 4 social media habits you need to stop doing right now.

Too much sales pitch content

Most people follow your brand because they find your content informative, valuable or entertaining. Either way, these people are interested in the content you share. Although we understand that you are running a business and you are looking to increase your sales, it’s definitely not a good idea to bombard your followers with advertisements. If you do so, you are likely to lose your followers.

For your brand to succeed on social media, you need to develop a good relationship with your fans and followers. Focus on engagement, rather than selling.

Posting too much

Being active on social media can help you build a strong online presence. You need to post consistently to keep your followers engaged and to stay relevant, but that doesn’t mean that you should post about something every hour. If you do so, people are likely to unfollow you because of the torture you put them through.

Post at least once a day and focus on content that your fans and followers are interested in. Eventually, you’ll be making friends and earning followers fast.

Not determining your brand

In order to build an online presence, you first need to define your business’ personality. Ask yourself how you want people to envision you. Also, define a consistent brand voice to drive consistency in your content creation efforts. Even if people view your content on different channels, you want to make sure that they could identify the content as coming from your brand.

Abusing the hashtag

Hashtags are a great way of categorizing content, providing context or curating information. Sure, hashtags can be powerful when used correctly. They generate attention and help you gain more followers, but too many hashtags in a single post can be distracting. Plus, it takes away from the message you’ve posted. Stop hashtag abuse!

3-ways-to-turn-prospects-into-paying-customersIn the B2B world, one of the marketer’s primary goals is to generate new leads. Most businesses have no trouble acquiring leads. The problem is, many of them fail to realize another important component of the sales funnel – lead conversion.

There is no point in generating leads if you can’t convert those leads into customers. After all, that’s how your business thrives and succeeds. Make sure you implement these strategies to prevent prospects from slipping through your fingers.

Quick follow-up

Time is of the essence in the business world. The speed at which your sales team follows up on the lead is important. Make sure that you follow up within 24 hours or all your efforts will be put to waste. Call them or just send a follow up e-mail. Offer to answer any questions that they might have. Sometimes, this is enough to get them into purchase mode.

People lose interest faster than you may think. As such, a quick follow up is recommended. If your sales team aren’t fast enough, they will move on to your competitors. Don’t let them wait.

Herd mentality

People are often influenced by the behavior of the people around them. This includes their buying behavior.

If you want a consumer to buy a particular product, you can use this to your advantage. Let them know how many people have bought your product in the last few weeks. This simple strategy can help boost your sales. If they see other people jumping on the bandwagon, they are likely to do the same.

Qualify leads

Not everyone who visits your site is interested in what you have to offer.  As such, it is important to determine which leads are worth your effort.

Qualifying leads can mean the difference between wasting lots of time and energy and landing a new, juicy business. You want to make sure you’re selling to right people. Check to see if they fit your buyer profile and their activities on your site before passing them off to sales.

paying-cutomersIn the B2B world, one of the marketer’s primary goals is to generate new leads. Most businesses have no trouble acquiring leads. The problem is, many of them fail to realize another important component of the sales funnel – lead conversion.

There is no point in generating leads if you can’t convert those leads into customers. After all, that’s how your business thrives and succeeds. Make sure you implement these strategies to prevent prospects from slipping through your fingers.

Quick follow-up

Time is of the essence in the business world. The speed at which your sales team follows up on the lead is important. Make sure that you follow up within 24 hours or all your efforts will be put to waste. Call them or just send a follow up e-mail. Offer to answer any questions that they might have. Sometimes, this is enough to get them into purchase mode.

People lose interest faster than you may think. As such, a quick follow up is recommended. If your sales team aren’t fast enough, they will move on to your competitors. Don’t let them wait.

Herd mentality

People are often influenced by the behavior of the people around them. This includes their buying behavior.

If you want a consumer to buy a particular product, you can use this to your advantage. Let them know how many people have bought your product in the last few weeks. This simple strategy can help boost your sales. If they see other people jumping on the bandwagon, they are likely to do the same.

Qualify leads

Not everyone who visits your site is interested in what you have to offer.  As such, it is important to determine which leads are worth your effort.

Qualifying leads can mean the difference between wasting lots of time and energy and landing a new, juicy business. You want to make sure you’re selling to right people. Check to see if they fit your buyer profile and their activities on your site before passing them off to sales.

 

How to Get People to Promote Your Brand

Start-ups and small businesses are always looking for ways to get maximum exposure for their business with limited budget. Value is the most important word when allocating budget for your marketing campaign. But what if you could find people who are willing to write about your products and promote them to their friends for free? Yes, it’s possible.

Getting your customers to promote your business will likely spur some level of success. Here are some tips on how to get people to promote your business.

Find loyal customers

Keep an eye out on people with a history of buying from you. Now, you want to find people who are committed to your brand and loyal to you in more ways than one, and make sure you remember their names. These people are more likely to help you spread the word out about your business than those who made a single purchase.

You won’t be able to turn every single customer into an advocate, so you need to find those people who believe in your brand. Not all people endorse products for money. Some people do it because they like the product or they believe in the company.

Offer awesome customer service

If you want to get people talking about your business, then you need to go above and beyond their expectations. Meeting their expectations is good as well, but chances are, they won’t be singing your praises either.

Build a relationship

When it comes to building advocates, you should aim for ongoing engagement. You cannot just push people to do you what you want if they don’t trust you, so focus on the relationship first. Spend more time engaging them. Reach out and always respond to your customers. The closer they feel to you, the happier they’ll be to tell others how amazing your products and services are.

Referral program

Studies show that 83% of customers are willing to refer a product or service to their family and friends, but only 29% actually do. It’s because most businesses do not ask them to.

Referrals are the best form of advertising. In fact, they are incredibly well equipped to market and sell your products and services. All you need to do is ask. Don’t forget to say thank you every time a successful referral is completed.