One Channel Dependency Might Kill My Business!?

Is all your revenue coming from one source? That's a huge risk! Using a single sales and/ or marketing channel to market your business might be a fatal mistake for you. Single-source dependency means over-reliance on one thing and that could ruin your business. It's like having no backup. As much as you diversify your effort into various marketing channels and revenue sources, it’s unavoidable that you find a disparity in results. But that’s not to say you should stop doing it. You never know when a small revenue driver can become your main income and vice versa. 

Some businesses are dependent on one revenue source so they make themselves unduly exposed to forces outside their control. What if that source is over?

For lots of businesses this source is Google, when sales are primarily driven through Google Ads. And they take huge hits when a new competitor outbids them. 

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For other businesses it might be Facebook. A lot of companies use Facebook to engage with their audience. Often they manage groups in which members pay a monthly membership fee to the group admin (business owner) for access to valuable and relevant information. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with using Facebook groups as a marketing tool to keep in touch with your clients! Nevertheless, relying on Facebook groups alone to generate money for your business might be like building your house on someone else’s land. It's a huge risk. 

I know it from my professional career. We had a client, a very successful company that was built within the Facebook community. The community was one of the biggest in our country and had grown over many years, of course. Since 2011 countless amounts of time and effort were spent on building it and, you bet, it was really worth it. Imagine it as a heaven for an online marketeur. Selling the products almost organically, with no need for paid advertising. It was really dreamy. 

But in 2018 Facebook had changed the algorithm. Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook would reduce the organic reach of branded content and would focus more on “meaningful connections”. What is a meaningful connection you may wonder… Facebook no longer aims to keep you on their feed as long as it can, but instead focuses on quality time. Thus, users should be much more in touch with the friends, communities and groups that they are part of and, most importantly, truly interested in when it comes to content. And as a result of this, we started to see lower and lower numbers everywhere. 

What happened then? Out of nowhere there was a dropdown of organic reach. The businesses faced 34% decline in organic reach, on average. There were not enough people seeing the posts and not enough people were led to the website.  There were not enough orders to meet the same ROI as before. Of course, the company wasn't ready for this. This happened all of a sudden, with no warning! We did not have any back up. The company had to fill this gap by investing huge amounts of money into paid advertisements, in order to reserve the same numbers of orders and to keep the audience nurtured as before. Lesson learnt: Never rely on one channel only. It might be easy, but can also cost you a lot. 

For example, you are a real estate agent and you only generate leads from one channel - Zillow. This dependency makes your business vulnerable. What if Zillow shuts down? What if it becomes way more expensive? So, there are other options.  Platforms like Facebook can help you strengthen your brand. You can show your properties there via organic posts or paid ads, as well as build a community through a Facebook group. You can turn your Instagram into your album of properties, as well as connect with wealthy people via Linkedin. If you have a strong influence on each of these platforms and other agents don't, who do you think has the advantage?

Do you sell houses and have a community that has been engaging with your content for some time? Make your posts personal. Bring your story or stories of your previous customers into it. Leverage the fact that people get inspired by others and are interested in reading breathtaking personal stories. Increase your organic reach with high quality content. By high-quality I do not mean professional pictures or videos. What I mean is content that your audience wants! Study your target audience thoroughly before making any content plan. It will pay off, believe me…

Only a few small business owners use a variety of marketing tools to promote their business. Have you considered Facebook? Instagram? Podcasts? Twitter? Linkedin? Bing? And this is just the online section. Let’s not forget the old, but gold, offline channels! The older generations still watch TV, listen to the radio, read magazines or newspapers, as well as see billboards! Pick some other way to have a backup, to present your services somewhere else, to build a relationship with your clients or potential customers. 

The other thing that can help avoid or at least alleviate the one channel dependency is branding. And it might be the business branding or personal branding. Are you a real estate agent? You should build your own personal brand! Are you a small business owner? Work on your small business' brand!

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. Advice? Build your personal brand.

Personal brand is a thing!

If you can count on the loyalty of your customers and strong market positioning, you’re more likely to recover when your main revenue driver goes away. I am not endorsing losing focus on your main revenue drivers. I am pointing out that you should put in more of an effort to please your existing customers, invest in content marketing, associate your brand with other reputable brands (co-branding), and use a relevant variety of marketing channels to expand your reach and nurture your reputation. On a strategic level, this would mean allocating more of your budget to projects aimed at brand awareness. 

When your brand is established, it is like you have built a wall around your company that can shield it against market forces. Even though investing in your brand may seem like a waste of time because it does not deliver an immediate ROI, it’s the safest long-term investment you can make. 

The One-Size-Fits-All Channel does not exist

It's obvious that businesses with bigger budgets and more staff can manage a vast number of channels. An entrepreneur or a small business owner with two team members is not going to have a marketing department full of specialists obviously. If you cannot afford marketing agencies, or hiring other freelancers and contractors to help you pick the most relevant channels and focus primarily on those, you can always use an app to run your marketing campaigns online, with no previous knowledge of advertising. 

No one can say “Facebook is better than Tik Tok” or “Instagram may be fantastic for increasing brand awareness, whereas LinkedIn may be a phenomenal lead generation platform”. Everything needs to be tested because every “rule” is different for each business and is supposed to be based on data! 

What channel should you add to your arsenal? Do you wonder how to find the best online channel for your business? Try a multi-channel strategy! 

A multi-channel strategy tries to combine different channels to reach the user in the best possible way. You just display your business in as many places as the consumers are. This type of strategy contemplates including new channels and new forms of communication into your digital multi-channel strategy. This is a difficult task, especially for those companies that have used the most conventional channels so far. However, there are numerous advantages of integrating online multichannel into a company’s strategy.

Ask yourself: What are the two or three social networks your ideal clients use the most? What channels do they use to entertain, to get information, referrals and recommendations? This will answer you or at least help you get closer to what the most relevant marketing channels are for your particular audience. Based on your results, you’ll be able to pick the online channels that are supposed to have the highest impact and deliver the best experience to your ideal prospects and clients. 

You should define what your social media strategy objectives are. If you can’t explain why or how a particular channel will help you achieve your goals, then it’s more than likely you shouldn’t adopt it. It would be a waste of time. 

Who is your target audience? Do you know who you should have in mind as your ideal buyer? What are their needs, what do they desire, how and when they do like to consume content, and through which channels? To answer these questions, it's extremely helpful to create buyer personas. The personas are developed based on a combination of customer behavior and your understanding of their motivations and challenges. 

In the process of creating these personas, you’ll gain insights into your audience. You will find out the communication style that works for them, and the ways in which they like to consume content. Also, you can find out the ideal price they are most likely to pay for your product. Learn how to create your buyer persona.

What channels are the people from your target audience using? After you’ve set social media strategy objectives, you need to consider where your audience is interacting online. For instance, it could be deemed a wasted effort if your largest customer segment is composed of retired people and you choose Tik Tok as your prime channel.  

What channel is he into?

Also, you must adjust your content to that channel as well as to the audience you are speaking to. Once you know who it is that you are talking to, focus on your target audience’s needs and preferences. Your created personas will help you understand your audience’s concerns, preferences, and goals. When you know these, you are able to create content your buyers will find engaging, relevant, entertaining and valuable. Personas help you determine the very sort of content you will need, as well as the best way to communicate with your audience. 

Don't underestimate this. Being dependent on one channel might kill your business. Be ready to squeeze more out of other platforms when it comes to it! 

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5 Effective Ways to Sell Houses with Online Advertising

Gone are the days of driving through different neighborhoods and searching for houses and apartments with the for-sale sign. With around 50% of new homeowners finding their new homes online and only 7% finding it through the traditional yard sign it is easy to see why online advertising is becoming very important and effective in the real estate industry. More and more buyers are using the internet to search and find their dream house and it is easy to see why. Today’s technology allows us to search for any corner of the country for properties from the comfort of our living rooms.

So, with everything happening online here are 5 effective ways to sell houses with online advertising.

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Find Your Customers Where They Truly Are

A  few months ago, I moved to a new flat. Before that, I had been doing thorough research on what part of the city is the most child-friendly in terms of security, what are the prices and how far the flats are from the public transportation. I took many things into consideration before even getting in touch with an agent.

Did I Google things? Of course! Was I keen on reading research on what parts of the city suit my needs? You bet I was! Did I spend some time scrolling on Pinterest for furniture inspiration? Yes, I did.

I was lucky to meet Josh, a real estate agent who has been in the business for some time. We got in touch after I visited his website and read his article about the prediction of real estate prices, plus went through some interesting content on his LinkedIn profile. 

I was astonished by the speed of his reaction. Within two days, I had 5 flats to choose from. And a few days after that, I went to see them all.

What I did, nonetheless, within those two days, was thorough research – again. This time, I examined Josh's Instagram profile and checked out the other flats he had to offer. I read the reviews on his Google listings and read more educating articles on LinkedIn. I am a social media freak and I probably use all of them. But Josh was always there… Offering me exactly what I was looking for. At the exact time I needed it.

What I just described, was a perfect user experience and great customer-centric approach. Josh knew his business would grow if he invested in these channels. He also knew what content to serve on each of them. And I engaged, liked, followed – was totally sold! – Successfully ended my buying journey – call it whatever you want. Josh won. So did I.

Do I live in one of these aforementioned flats today? I surely do and I am happy with my decision.

Reach your customers wherever they spend their time. This is a golden rule Josh and other successful businesses completely abide by. 

The fact that you are missing out on the chance to speak to your customer or potential customer on any channel can only be leveraged by your competitors… If you don't worship the customer-centric approach, they will.

And by customer-centric I mean going beyond on what YOU want to be doing to what a CUSTOMER wants to do – where she spends time, where she expects to get in touch with your business, where she takes out her wallet and pays for goods or services...

We are not talking solely about social media here. Customers visit your store – interact with you personally, get in touch with someone from support or sales, search for a cheaper substitute on Google or Bing and eventually visit your website. To gain trust, users tend to rely on reviews and customer feedback listed on your social media profiles. One customer – multiple channels. And you'd better be on all of them.

Customer Interact with Multiple Channels
Your Customer Interacting with Multiple Channels

Every touchpoint matters. Everyone builds the complete image of you through your customers' eyes. And everyone determines whether a customer chooses you instead of your competitors.

In 2018, the average time spent daily on social media was 136 minutes. That is more than 2 hours of one's precious time. And more than 2 hours for you to catch their attention with what you have to offer.

What you can count on, is the fact that they will search for products like yours. And if they don't find you, they will buy somewhere else…

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Where Can You Publish Your Ads?

Today's online services have one major advantage. They track users and collect information about them and segment it accurately. This is a huge advantage for advertisers because they can specify their target audience precisely, so that an ad is shown only to a relevant people.

Surely, you come across such ads daily. On Facebook, Google Search… lots of you have probably tried to publish similar types of ads on these platforms.

Facebook and Google are obviously dominants of the PPC ads market. But did you know that there are a number of other platforms where you can advertise in a similar way?

You may think that this is unnecessary, when most internet users are using Facebook or Google and their services. Yes, it is true, but it doesn't mean your ad will be effective on these platforms.

Each user behaves differently on different platforms, which means that he can be immune to your Facebook advertising, for example, because he only goes there in the evenings to watch some funny videos, so advertising for selling real estate is not relevant to him. Maybe, in the morning, when he opens Linkedin, he is in a completely different state of mind and is ready to see the ad and take action.

The goal of this article is to list relevant platforms where you can advertise your services. To find out which platform is most effective for you, read this article.

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10 Facts to Know About Facebook Demographics & Stats

With 400 new users every 60 seconds, Facebook is not only the biggest social media platform, but it is continuously growing. Today, there are more than 2,4 billion users which is roughly 60% of all internet users. Nonetheless, some say its audience is getting older as younger internet users are getting excited about platforms like Instagram, TikTok or Snapchat. In this post, we will dig into the most important Facebook demographics and stats, so that you can get a better idea of who to target while creating your marketing persona and your plan on how to reach him or her.

Having a clear picture of how a channel grows is a key component to starting your marketing plan – promotion and content distribution. If you offer sneakers and target youngsters, relying solely on Facebook may not be the best tactic… Why? This audience is more likely to be found using social media platforms, such as Instagram or Tik Tok. Knowing your audience and stats behind the channels you want to use is crucial.

Let's finally dig into the most important Facebook demographics and stats!

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How to Define The Optimal Budget for Your Marketing Campaign

All small businesses need a good marketing plan to help it reach its targets and aspirations. With every marketing plan comes a marketing budget. You can say they go hand in hand. Creating the optimal marketing budget will ensure you spend the right amount of money in the right places to achieve your marketing goals. Creating a marketing budget used to involve a lot of trial and error which can lead to unnecessary expenses and ineffectiveness. But nowadays with everything becoming easier thanks to the amount of information available on the internet, so is creating the optimal marketing budget, everyone can do it.

Small business owners are finding new ways and techniques to plan out their strategies and design successful marketing budgets. It all comes down to how much are you willing to spend to acquire new customers and increase your brand awareness.

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7 Ways to Save Time on Daily Sales & Marketing Tasks

You, as an SMB owner, have a bunch of daily sales and marketing tasks you are probably facing every day, right? With these tips we will help you save some time.

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