Marketing expert John Jantsch, author of the popular blog Duct Tape Marketing, recently shared with Entrepreneur his insights on how to create a comprehensive and compelling web presence. In a webinar hosted by Laura Lorber, Entrepreneur.com's executive online editor, Jantsch voiced his thoughts on the seven stages of a web presence: search engine optimization, e-mail marketing, social media, online advertising, mobile and analytics.
Here are three of the key strategies he discussed.
1. Think about your content carefully.
Plan ahead and approach content creation in a purposeful way. Choose eight to 10 topics that you believe will most engage your readers and tailor your content to them. Then, create an editorial calendar with a list of upcoming topics, and be faithful to it.
Editor's Note: In a chat interview, we asked entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk your questions about connecting with customers. Read the transcript of the conversation below.
As the abandoned locker door is opened on A&E’s Storage Wars, the teams have only a few minutes to decide if there is anything of value among the old furniture, books and mystery boxes. While you probably don’t spend your days sorting through castoffs, small-business owners must often make quick decisions without having all of the necessary information.
Just like on Storage Wars, informed decisions on purchasing and pricing is often the difference between being in the black versus the red. On each episode of the show, professional buyers bid on storage units and then resell everything of value at their own consignment stores or to buyers directly.
Related: Why Some Entrepreneurs Are Turning Pricing Power Over to the Public
Here are three things you can learn about pricing your products and services from Storage Wars, without even having to step foot into a storage unit:
1. Get the best price possible from your vendors. The teams on the show often act disinterested in a locker or even hide behind another bidder just to get the lowest price. While feigning disinterest might not be the best tactic for your business, you should have a firm budget in mind before negotiating with vendors.
Do you remember when you were a little kid at school, and germs spread around the classroom like wildfire?
Now that you're an adult, life in the office is no different. Except instead of catching the chickenpox, you'll probably get hit with the flu.
An infographic from U.K.-based MASTER Cleaners Ltd highlights the dirty secrets your seemingly-clean office is hiding.
Warning: Don't read this if you haven't eaten lunch yet.
A reader commented on a recent post of mine: “I work so much that I sometimes don't know how to turn it off.” Many people are increasingly pressure to do more and more . . . often with less. But only so much can be done in a day.
I like to look at the day as being 96 opportunities of 15 minutes each. Most of us can only concentrate for about 15 minutes at a time, so this division makes sense. How we use these small units of time results in days (even weeks, months, or years) that are either productive and powerful or frustrating and frantic.
Of course there are whole books dedicated to this topic, but for now I’ll look at just two aspects of how to get more done with less time. . . and how to “turn it off” at the end of the day:
1. Know what is important.
2. Celebrate the completions.
First you have to know what is important to get done. Not every task has the same value. And not all tasks need to be completed by you. You can prioritize and then sometimes even delegate to others. Use an effective tickler system to remind you of tasks that can be performed later so you don’t have to try to actually remember everything that needs to be done.
If you work for someone else, then often they set the priorities. However, you also have to focus on what is important to you as well. If there is a particular project, that if completed would move you forward in your personal goals, this could be a good place to put some significant focus. Repeated focus of 15 minutes at a time can create powerful results. Look at the tasks on your plate and organize them by priority, identifying those that will move you forward most effectively.
Once prioritized, you can also organize your tasks-to-be-completed by the amount of time it might take to finish a task. Some will take longer than others. For example, if you have articles you need to read that might take you 15 minutes to complete, and you’ve organized those on your list as requiring a “small” amount of time, carry a couple with you and when you find yourself waiting for a vendor or meeting, you can read one and check it off your list. One more valued item completed.
You can also take advantage of time when you are waiting on the phone. For example, if clearing out your email is on your task list, and you find yourself on hold for a length of time, that might be a good opportunity to cull some of those no longer necessary emails.
Make the most of the time you have in the day. Remember, concentrated effort over 15 minutes performed consistently can help you clear a lengthy “to do” list over time.
Related: To Do More, First Slow Down
To help you disconnect at night, and to reinforce that you are making progress, try this exercise: For five days in a row, take time at the end of the day to write a list of tasks you worked on and of lessons you learned along the way for each day. Reflect on what went well, what could have been improved, what you said that was effective, or what was stated that might not have helped the situation. All this reflection helps focus on what you are already doing that is working and highlights the fact you really are making progress through the tasks you have on your list, while learning and growing along the way.
Take time to celebrate your completions. One day folds into the next when we don’t take time to celebrate what we have successfully completed. A celebration can be as simple as an internal comment to yourself such as: “Excellent! You made all your follow-up calls today. Way to go.” Celebration can also be a team party at the end of a large project. The point is to take time to acknowledge the completions that are happening along the way. It is far too easy to go from day to day and task to task, moving to the next item on the “to do” list, never taking time to recognize, even to ourselves, the many tasks we complete each day. Even doing a simple task well is worth celebrating.
Apart from creating a vibrant branded Twitter account for your startup, business owners should consider creating their own personal account on Twitter. Fans and followers often want to connect with the person behind the brand.
Giving customers and prospects a glimpse into the entrepreneur's life and mindset can allow them to cultivate a deeper relationship with customers separately from the brand. The goal, of course, is to increase customers' loyalty to the brand.
Here are 10 things every entrepreneur can tweet about, which can allow your clients and prospects to see another side of you:
Even if fiscal cliff fears play out and the national economy cools down, strong local economies may provide an extra layer of insulation for many small businesses.
A new Bank of America survey published today underscores just how important the local community is to small businesses. The Bank of America Fall 2012 Strong Local Economies May Shield Small Businesses From Possible National Downturn shows that the majority of small business's customers come from the community in which their business is based. The survey of 1,003 small business owners in the U.S. was conducted by Braun Research in September and October.
Sixty-three percent of respondents said most of their customers come from their local community, while 27 percent said the majority of customers come from outside their local community, but within the U.S. Just 3 percent said that most customers are from outside the U.S.
When asked about the role that the local, national and global economy plays in their business, 75 percent of respondents said the local economy plays a significant role in their business, while 59 percent said the national economy plays a significant role.
As tax reform hangs in the balance, many self-employed and small business owners are hoping for a wide-ranging deal that focuses on both corporate and individual taxes.
According to results of a tax reform survey released yesterday by the National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) 82 percent of respondents feel it is "very important" for Congress to address comprehensive individual and corporate tax reform. What's more, 78 percent said both these areas should be the highest priority. The results are based on roughly 300 surveys completed between September and Election Day by NASE members who are self-employed or own businesses with 10 or fewer employees.
The survey results come as efforts to avert the so-called fiscal cliff are underway. More than $600 billion in tax hikes and spending cuts are set to go into effect on Jan. 1 if President Obama and lawmakers don't strike a deal.
Facebook Offers is a new advertising feature that allows businesses to share discounts or promotions -- in-store, online or both -- with their Facebook audience. Potential customers can claim these offers from their news feed, and they can share them with their friends and family.
This new ad unit is available starting at $5 for Page owners. The cost rises with a larger fan base, but it's always free for potential customers to claim.
Here's how to make the most of Facebook Offers for your business:
In today's rapidly changing market, small businesses that innovate survive. But, that's no easy task for a leader. You're expected to be open to risky ideas while protecting your company and evaluating what will work. Openness and skepticism often seem at odds, and finding a successful balance can be tough.
"Innovation pulls leaders in multiple directions," says Sam Hunter, a psychologist studying innovation at Penn State University. Learning when and how to employ each mindset will help you manage the innovation process effectively.
Related: 3 Ways to Think Outside the Box
These four tips can help you encourage creative ideas while keeping your business safe.
The backlash over Facebook's Promoted Posts feature and a dramatic drop in fan engagement is heating up. Billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban says all of the around 70 companies he owns or has invested in are now shifting their social strategies away from Facebook in favor of Twitter and other networks. Like other business owners, he's fed up with Facebook's pay-for-reach strategy.
The problems started this summer when Facebook introduced Promoted Posts, which allows business Pages with 400 or more "likes" to pay so that more fans see their posts in their News Feeds. But many businesses that aren't paying for the extra reach are now experiencing a significant drop in fan engagement -- as much as 50 percent in some cases.
Sniffles, coughs and sneezes are common sounds at the office this time of year. While you can't keep your office completely germ-free, you can take a few simple preventive measures to keep your employees and happy and healthy as possible.
While regular hand-washing and sanitizing surfaces are important to create a healthy environment, Dr. Joel Fuhrman,a N.J.-based family physician and author of Super Immunity (HarperOne, 2011), says promoting good nutrition and boosting your immune system is the most effective way to stay healthy at work.
He offers these tips to protect your workspace from making you sick.
Hockey fans have been out of luck so far this season with the National Hockey League (NHL) locked out since September due to a labor dispute between team owners and players. NHL team owners want the players' revenue share reduced from 57 percent to 50 percent under a new collective bargaining agreement.
The lockout is also concerning to many business owners, especially sports bars and restaurants, that rely on the NHL season to fuel their revenues during the winter months.
For most business owners -- sports team owners included -- the primary objective is to increase revenues. But when it comes to paying your staff, the rules can sometimes change.
As the NHL labor dispute drags on it can offer a few lessons about negotiating salaries with employees. Here's a look at five:
It's no secret that employee praise -- ranging from a pat on the back to major public kudos -- is a good thing. But many managers struggle with this soft skill or don't give it enough credence, says Bill Flint, founder of Flint Strategic Partners, a management consulting firm in Goshen, Ind.
"Too often, leaders get caught up in telling people what they're doing wrong instead of showing that they care," he says. To reap the rewards of a kind word or two, here are five ways to easily incorporate performance-boosting praise into your organization.
His specialty is in simple, low-cost and effective marketing. It's always in high demand among business owners.
That's why were excited to host a one-hour webinar with Jantsch, Wed. Nov. 14. The session, titled 7 Stages of a Total Online Presence, will offer lessons, resources, action plans and a question-and-answer session for attendees. If you couldn't make it, check back here later for a link to an archive that you can see on your own time. We’ll also be giving away 20 copies of Jantsch's latest book The Commitment Engine (Portfolio, 2012) to 20 randomly-selected attendees after the webinar.
Meantime, watch this video interview of Jantsch with Behind the Brand host Bryan Elliott.