We’re all used to connecting the term ‘brand' with relationships to companies and products. However, that’s not what we’re going to talk about right now. A personal brand is kind of like a stamp that defines your persona and how people see it. In the past, personal branding used to be only about business cards, logos and websites. Today, it’s much more diverse. (Although websites are still useful for anyone building their brand and if you'd like to know more, you can read about this topic here.) Anyone who has access to the internet and social media can showcase themselves as an expert, build an audience, and attract clients that might be interested in their business. It’s a connection between how you see yourself, how you communicate with others and how they see you. Now, where do you start and how do you build a brand for yourself?
The good and the bad thing about the internet is that it allows you to be anyone. Literally. Maybe you’re an entrepreneur or influencer whose brand is all built on a pseudonym and some kind of alter ego, and that's perfectly okay. Although, it’s easier to keep your personal brand as close to the real you as possible. Why? Because making up and pretending to be a whole new person is much more difficult to maintain, therefore, less authentic and trustworthy for your audience. It is not impossible, but it is more complicated. If you want people to see who you really are, what skills you have or what you believe in, the persona you’re crafting should be authentic and reflect you.
You can’t appeal to everyone, not in real life and, certainly, not online. Who's your ideal client? In order to attract your target audience, you have to give up trying to attract everyone. That means you should identify a specific target audience. This is the audience that will appreciate your message and help your business grow. Targeting ideal customers should be based on certain demographics (age, gender, education, profession, etc.), their aspirations, motivations and common behaviors. If you’re able to target this group of people and send a message that they understand and resonate with, you’re definitely on the right path.
At its core, personal branding isn’t about selling. If you’re going to be all about selling, people might stop being interested very fast. You should focus on making yourself available to your audience. Post business-related content and combine it with something more personal, such as photos of your hobbies, your skills or just anything you feel comfortable posting. I’d say that there isn’t really the right answer to “What’s way too personal?”. Some people post absolutely everything, some post nothing at all. It’s up to you and where you set your boundaries. Just know that a social media audience likes a good sneak peek into your personal life.
Something you can’t forget when working on your personal brand is storytelling. Why storytelling? Because people like stories. Of course, we’re not talking about writing a sci-fi book, but simply creating a story around your brand that your audience can engage with. If your brand isn’t telling a story, it’s wasting its potential beforehand. Great examples of ways to tell a story online are written content or videos. Use your profile to engage with people as much as you can. It’ll give them a more profound feeling of socializing with you and that’s very good for your brand. Also, the warmer and friendlier your approach is, the nicer you’ll be in the eyes of your clients.
One of the things that challenges people is being consistent. This is super important when it comes to building your brand. People will start recognizing it once they’ve come across your profile or heard of you a few times. Using multiple platforms is fine, but your approach and image should be the same on all of them. If it’s not, people might get confused. One of the purposes of personal branding is to give people the feeling of knowing you, and that is impossible, if your image keeps changing. Make sure the fonts, styles, designs and logos you use are harmonized and your message doesn’t change completely.
Being successful doesn’t happen overnight. If you work for the goals you set, but don’t succeed on the first try, don’t worry and definitely - Don’t give up! Failure isn’t a nice feeling, and all of us want to avoid it, but failing is, unfortunately, a normal part of life. Everyone who’s done something to move forward had to fail a few times. We don’t have to view failure as a bad thing. Rather look at it several times, try to learn from your past mistakes and try to make it better next time. Even the best brands always try and fail. What’s a better way to learn how to do things successfully than looking at our own mistakes?
Building a brand for yourself is really important today and the idea of it makes some people feel uncomfortable, but missing out on the opportunity to control your online persona isn’t worth it. Especially if your goal is to create a positive social media impact. Personal branding doesn’t have to be uncomfortable. Just remember the most important rule — Stay genuine.
You are probably on a path to choose the best marketing automation software for your business. In our latest post, we've covered all you need to know about marketing automation when you are a small business owner. Automation is a trend. And every small business can embrace this – it's not just a game for the big players. In order to choose the right tool, there are some things to keep in mind. There is not just one category of automation tools. Some help enterprises with their robust database and multi-channel campaign orchestration, others help small businesses get rid of the daily marketing routine. Let's dig into the 5 features you'd expect to find in your perfect marketing automation software solution.
You can either follow a trend or go against it. The choice is yours. The truth is, nonetheless, that if you fall behind, your competitors may overcome you – steal your customers and offer a better service or product. Knowing that being a business owner is a tough job, technology is sometimes considered too hard to implement because it is costly to hire a strategic partner or IT support or time-consuming to learn new tactics yourself. These myths may not apply for your business – today's tools are made to be easy to implement and understood by non-technical individuals.
Technology influences every aspect of your business – IT, finances, logistics, sales, support or marketing. New approaches teach us constantly how to become more efficient at what we do. Saving money or time, increasing the scalability of our businesses or inventing new products and business models is backed by the evolution of technology. On the other hand, not everything that glitters is gold… We've written an article about the difference between trend and hype. Watch carefully what's going on in your industry and what your customers need or require (which is definitely the most important factor of all), but don't jump on every train that goes around. Not everyone will make it to the final station. There is a difference between what influences your business and what doesn't.
We will cover some trends for 2020 below, but before we jump into that, let's speak about the context. In 2018, 50% of the world's population was online. Today in 2019, it's more than 54%. Now, most people have jumped into the information age, where everything is moving at an unbelievable pace. Not only are things (goods and services) changing on a daily basis, but their costs are constantly decreasing. Imagine you bought a 3D printer 12 years ago. 40,000 USD is what you'd have paid. Today, the cheapest 3D printers cost around 100 USD. Yes, your math skills are up to par: 400x less.
Everything changes. We either accept it and do our best, or die.
The goal of this article is to encourage you to follow the trend and embrace the newest technology in 2020, not to speak about morbid scenarios.
Going back to where we began: YOU CAN EMBRACE TECHNOLOGY IN 2020, because it is meant to be available for you. When running a local business, you focus on what's really important, right? You don't want to spend time doing things that don't positively affect your bottom line. Being an entrepreneur, there are two key factors to go after:
To achieve one or the other, you might try tactics you haven't tried yet. To understand them, let's dive into a few trends to follow in 2020:
We are bringing you our marketing knowledge, not necessarily the overall business strategy. You know your business best, but we know what saves you time and generates more money when it comes to marketing. Automating routine tasks and delegating the costly work, that you or your agency needs to do, to tools like groost. allows you to manage your online campaign effectively and for a fraction of the price. If you rely on your sales team, CRM systems like Hubspot or Pipedrive strive to help you automate follow up emails or customer retention activities. There is a plethora of tools to use, which we have covered in this article.
"For more than 30% of small businesses is marketing the number one challenge” by Mailchimp
We keep repeating this, I know. But it simply is the Holy Grail – always put the customer in the center of your (not only marketing) activities. I can assure you this won't be relevant only in 2020, but will last for decades. The times in which Henry Ford kept saying “You can have any color as long as it's black” is over. In today's era, your customers' desires and preferences are what should keep you awake at night.
Does this apply to marketing only? Not at all. Imagine you market your product so that hundreds of people are waiting in line to buy from you. Once they approach the cashier they turn back and never come again – unwillingness to serve your customers nicely by one of your employees can be very costly. To give another example, say you run an ecommerce project. Everything from marketing to IT works great, until your logistics crash and the customer does not get what she ordered. Is this something that can badly harm your business? Absolutely! Customers have many touch points when dealing with your business – make sure every one of them is as customer-friendly as possible.
Let's stay in the marketing field for now. You probably run your profile on social media. Having 1,000 page likes brings you nothing if you only reach 20% of them. The organic reach is – and will be – decreasing constantly which we covered in our latest article. You will have no other choice, but to create truly engaging content that resonates with your audience and to invest in paid advertising. What you need to focus on is:
According to the Deloitte Small business technology trends, 80% of small businesses aren't taking full advantage of digital tools. Be the 20% of them.
There are two main communication strategies: inbound & outbound. Inbound makes the potential customer discover you by the content that you create – be it articles on your website, videos on your Youtube channel or podcasts on Spotify. Outbound is focused on push or disruptive strategies – you reach your potential customers while they scroll on their social media feeds, watch videos on Youtube or read articles. Working on your content brings you long-term results. Educating your audience, providing valuable content (and boosting your inbound marketing) is something you should be focused on throughout not only 2020, but every upcoming year.
We've come across a few basic tips to leverage technology in 2020. As stated, even small businesses can – and should embrace the latest technology (not only in 2020, but beyond).
AI, Chatbots, Blockchain, self-driving cars, cloud-computing... You have probably heard of all of those, right? Do these terms represent trend or a hype? What is the actual difference between those two words? And are they important for you, as an entrepreneur who's just getting started? These are probably the questions that jump to your mind when hearing these buzzwords.
There is a HUGE difference between what stays and what doesn't. In other words, not everything will stick and change our behaviour. This is how we can define our keyword, trend: as a change in the behaviour, habits or ways in which things work. It is a constant change. Let me explain trend in a graph, as I am a visual learner and a numbers freak…
On the contrary, hype is something that simply occurs and fades away… without any lasting impact. If I spoke in graphs, hype would look like this:
When the terms are clarified, let us look at the history and point out some of the trends and hypes we, as humans on this earth, have been through…
Presented by Diner's Club, the very first universal credit card came to use and was accepted by some establishments. Had it been just a hype, no one would be using credit cards today… Non-cash payment instruments play a huge role in our lives today – this trend changed our behaviour for good.
Now, imagine a bank not issuing a credit or debit card after opening an account – a business that did not catch the trend. This bank would for sure not survive in today's world…
… and changed the way we travel, transport ourselves and purchase goods. Startups like AirBnB or Uber have shown us there is a new way of ordering a taxi or renting a flat for a few nights. Have classic taxi companies had to react to this change? You bet they have!
You can probably guess where this is heading. There are a plethora of examples of trends that have changed our lives. These are real changes that – if businesses ignored them – could be very harmful...
Here we go. 2019 and podcasts, home voice assistants, voice search, voice order and – you nailed it – everything that has something to do with voice is slowly changing the way we behave. Is this something you should keep an eye on? I believe so. Is this something that is about to change / threaten / boost your business? That truly depends on your business industry and approach.
On the contrary, hype can calmly be ignored (or shortly leveraged). Do you remember the Bitcoin bubble in late 2017?
If not, let me briefly explain. Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency that was invented in January 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto. Its price has been slowly rising since then, and in 2017, one Bitcoin was worth around 20,000 USD. With no real value behind it! In other words, so much money was invested in this currency that the price rose rapidly. An easy economic rule: when the demand rises (while the offer is limited), the price goes up. But what is crucial, is the value behind it. There was no value at all. And in January 2018...BOOM!
Identifying hype and trend can be crucial for the survival of your business. But no one really tells you how to get started. Well… saying that there is a manual would mean there is a way to predict the future.
But there are some ways to prepare yourself. As Gartner puts it: “Three key factors will ultimately enable you to identify the potential impact of a particular technology trend on people, business, IT and the technology market:
Yes, you have to know your business and industry perfectly in order to answer those questions. If you decide to simply ignore everything that goes around you, you may get kicked out of business soon… But if you learn, build on your knowledge and keep an eye on the current trends & hypes (as you may not recognize them at the beginning), your chances will rise.
Build on your knowledge. Do not pay attention to what does not affect your business, but be aware of something that does…
We at groost.com are leveraging online advertising for small businesses, which has shown to be a strong trend that is here to change many industries. In 2018, for the very first time, 50 % of the world's population was online. Never before has the percentage of people with access to the internet been so high. And guess what… The number is rising. Is this a trend or a hype? You are now able to answer the question for yourself.
Are you up to date with what's on trend for 2019? Check the Gartner's research here: https://www.gartner.com/smarterwithgartner/5-trends-appear-on-the-gartner-hype-cycle-for-emerging-technologies-2019
If you are running your own small business, it is only right to have a website. With everyone being on the internet it is almost impossible not to take advantage of it. Unless you do not want your business to grow and succeed it is essential to build up your online presence and having a website is one of the ways to do it. Thanks to the evolution of technology and free website builders like Webflow, building your own personal website has never been easier. You do not need to be a computer engineer or know computer programing. Free website builders enable you to build a personal website to your liking. There are so many positives to having your own business website.
So, here are the benefits and advantages of having your own website:
Well, that’s a tricky question – there are so many variables at play. Depending on your situation, the cost of your Facebook ads could be as much as $10 per click, or as little as 40 cents.
The most important factor is efficiency and performance. Your ads might be super cheap, but if they do not bring any results, it's a waste of money. Define the purpose (the goal) of the ad and what is your cost limit to label the ad as efficient. Many businesses measure success by the number of sold products, leads generated, or potential customers engaged.
There is no rule or benchmark for this, each business is different with different needs and circumstances. Someone might be satisfied with a new lead for $45 and another might not go over $10. One person might consider a $3 cost per click as successful and another would not want to pay more than $2. Calculate the revenue you can get from the lead and think about how much you want to spend per action, this way you can always check whether your ads perform well or not.
Before you spend a lot of money, try to set up your daily budget for $5 a day. (We will talk about how to set your budget later). Monitor your results. If the ad performance meets your ideas and you have money to raise the daily budget, do it. And do it again, if the ad is bringing you results.
Remember: If your ad is comical, visually appealing, engaging, or all of these combined, people will like, comment or share it more often than they would with some boring copy with a blurry image. If you really want the most from your paid ads, they have to be great to make the people share them and so the ads will be also spread organically. Deciding how much to spend is a good place to start, but always make sure each dollar goes as far as it possibly can. The key is the visual, the text, as well as targeting. Regarding your content creation, read my article about buyer personas, because you should tailor-make it for your ideal customers and you can also find more helpful info in this article about tools for creating visual content.
So, how can you get an idea of how much Facebook advertising costs before diving in?
Marketing is an ever-changing field and the methods that work aren’t usually long term. Are you having a hard time navigating the latest trends and the most efficient ways to optimize your content? Don’t worry, because most people struggle with the exact same thing. Here are 10 up-to-date tips for online marketing.