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Tips For Good Follow-Up

You’ve heard that the fortune is in the follow-up. But, sometimes follow up gets a little… abandoned.

If you’re super busy and you’ve got 52 other things to do – you might not be thinking about following up with leads the way you should be. Well, we are here to help give you some advice that might help you out with your follow-ups. Here is our advice.

Auto Pilot

While we personally do not use a lot of “Auto Pilot” systems – it does work for other businesses and can be quite helpful. Such as an email autoresponder or even online sales funnels. For example – if you have an email list but you don’t feel like you can write emails every day – you can write several all at once or hire someone to write them for you – and schedule them to be sent out at a certain time and date.

The email autoresponder that I personally recommend is Aweber but you can also use Get Response or Mail Chimp.  whichever one works best for you. So, you can load all these emails into your autoresponder – then you won’t have to think about writing or sending them out. Of course, at some point – emails will need to be written. But, not as often.

Another thing that is useful is setting up automatic calls. No, not the telemarketing kind. There are services that let you buy a recorded message that you send out to your prospects – it goes straight to their voicemail rather than letting them pick up and talk to a robot. We do not recommend telemarketing!

Make a Plan

One of our best pieces of advice is – make a list of questions you could ask each client or “lead” here, let me give you an example – when we are working with a potential client – before we ever get on the phone with them or meet them we already know what questions we need to ask right off and what information we are going to need. Obviously, we tailor this to whoever it is we are talking to. This helps us when we are meeting to save time and get the info that will help everyone.

So, if your clientele is pretty much the same niche – you can write out a list of questions (like a reporter) and that way – you won’t have to rattle your brain every time to think of what you need to ask. This will also make sure you get the info you need to better serve your clients and customers.

 

 

This doesn’t seem like much right now – but trust me. It will help!

Calendars are Life

I know, it sounds outdated. But, if you insist you can use the one on your phone – if you have a smartphone. Make a list of people you need to follow-up with and on what days. But, keep this separate from your regular meetings and clients. Maybe write them under a different task or in a different color ink. This way you know who and when. If you have a team – this will help them also. Whoever is dealing with the follow-ups even if it is not you – leads needs to be organized well.

Set alerts and reminders also. Set them for the night or morning before so it’ll give you a heads up. If you’re busy it can be easy to lose track and forget to look at your calendar. And as soon as you finish the task – remove it to avoid confusion. Also, remember to block out a set amount of time for this lead. That way you get time to get to know their needs and also they have time to ask questions etc.

 

Well, that is all for today. Stay tuned for more helpful tips, articles, and posts like this one. If you have a topic suggestion or question – feel free to let us know! Also, remember you can follow us on Facebook andTwitter @KCMarketingCo Speak soon! 

Tips For Hosting Live Events.

When you think of live events – what comes to mind? Most people think a live event needs to be some huge deal that costs thousands of dollars and more entertainment than needed. Calm down – it does not need to be the equivalent of a Metalica concert. You don’t always need to rent space either depending on if you have a storefront or not and the size and location of it. We are going to give you some tips to make your first live events go smoother and hopefully decrease stress.

Location

This subject could be talked about for days. This will be the first step. If you have a storefront big enough for a gathering – GREAT you can just skim this section. But, if you don’t have a storefront of maybe you just don’t want to host your event there – keep reading. So, let me give you an example that might help you out in this situation. Some friends of mine who worked at a local college and they wanted to throw a party for Christmas but they didn’t have the space to do it  – so they needed to rent a place for a night. So, they called around and found a park that would let them host the “party” there. In some areas, there are places that are only for events. You can even use your local community center. Of course landing a location will depend on the type of event you are hosting.

If you are hosting a business event – then you most likely should not rent out someone’s home basement. If you’re hosting an event about knitting – don’t host it at a water park. You get the idea…

Advertisement

This is one of the absolute most important parts there is with any business – but especially for live events. If you don’t advertise you won’t get anyone to your event. There are lots of ways you can advertise these events. But you never want to choose just one method alone. So, here are some suggestions to help you.

Start advertising way ahead of time. Never wait until the week of the event. Go for two to three weeks ahead of time. This gives everyone plenty of time to clear their schedule and to really have it in their minds. Often, when you wait until last second to start telling people – you won’t get nearly as many guests as you would like. But, how often are you walking down the street – see a flyer for an event for the next day and decide to go? Not likely.

There are lots of different methods and routes you can take. Depending on how much time you have and your preferred style. If you really want to ramp things up you can always hire a marketing firm to handle it all for you. But, here are our suggestions on some methods to use.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Non-traditional methods like signs and flyers

Of course, using social media will only work if you actually have an updated and functioning platform set up. And if you actually make sure your clients/customers know you exist on social media. It won’t do any good if you’ve never used it before.

Anyway, you should post at least twice a day almost every day. So, if you’re advertising an event and trying to get a better turn out – consistency is very important. If you don’t have time to manage your social media – get someone else to handle it for you. All the mentioned social media platforms require consistency.

For more offline advertising methods like word of mouth and hanging flyers – there is only so much you can do of that. If you do choose to use this method in conjunction with the others mentioned – make sure you have a good design made for you. And make sure you are hanging your flyers/posters where they will be seen – not just where they fit.

Social media posting

Off the subject of how much to post – moving on to what to post. You’re going to want to create a graphic of some kind. It needs to grab attention and make your business look good as usual – but it also needs to have information about the event. I’m sure you have seen lots of posters like this before. This is almost the same but online and not just on flyers. If you have a designer just talk to them about the kind of event you will be hosting and give him the information on the event and they should be able to come up with something fitting – if you don’t have a designer and plan on doing this yourself – we recommend using photoshop or some form of it. This is especially important for Instagram and Facebook.

Remember to make sure your audience is targeted. You can runs ads or just post on your timeline – but either way, you want – the posts need to be targeted. You need to be specific. One mistake a lot of people make is they are very vague in the description. If you just say “Hey, we are hosting an event next Friday. Come” that will not be enough… At all.

Conclusion

When planning an event – remember that location and advertising are key. Your first event might be a little stressful and a little crazy. But, remember to just take it one step at a time and the more you do it – the easier it will be. If one event doesn’t go as planned – just try something else next time.

If you need a hand with setting up the advertising campaign for your event or any other help we can give – drop us a line!

The Fear Of Growth And Why It’s a Lie

When people think of growth in the business world – often they think of big corporate companies with large egos. But, growth doesn’t always mean expanding in size alone. Growth comes in many other forms. We have told you about our recent adventures with small businesses and one thing we noticed was that a lot of the business owners seemed to have this “fear” of growth. So, let me give you the same advice I gave these business owners – and let’s see if it still makes you think of big corporate companies with large egos.

Always Learn

This is a big one. No matter who you are, what you do, what you sell or provide, or how old you are – you should always be learning. Whether you learn how to better manage your social media to get more engagement, how to sell, how to run a proper coffee shop, etc. Learning is one of the single biggest things you should be doing. Buy a book, attend live events, attend webinars, hire a coach/mentor and pay them to teach you, buy an educational product. Invest in your own knowledge.

Don’t get caught up in learning so much that you forget to actually implement what you’re learning – but you should invest in your education more often. If you get coaching/consulting with us then we will work with you one on one for as long as you want.

Events

Hosting your own event is a really fun and great way to get yourself out there. Events are often overlooked by business owners because they simply do not want to take the time to set anything up or they think it will cost an insane amount of money. Well, that is not always true. Here is an example for you… Let’s say you have a tattoo shop. You decide that on Friday and Saturday you are going to offer $20 tattoos and sell some $2 cake or hot dogs. You will be surprised at what people will do when you throw in food and a discount. Turn on some music and once people realize there is a deal going on (especially if you have food or drinks) people will be interested. I recently suggested a 20s themed party to a vintage themed coffee bar. I think that would be really neat and it fits their personality! This works for all kinds of businesses. Not just traditional businesses with a physical location.

Let’s say you have an online business. Have you ever been to a Mary Kay party? They are all over the place. I know because my friend threw one. But, they get a bunch of people together and they start showing off their products. If you have an online business – you could host a MeetUp and get some connections. Just make it fun, friendly, and fitting to you.

Street Noise

I recently wrote an article on flyers and how to use them to your advantage. But, let’s go over something a little different but in some ways the same. This ideally works if you have an actual location – but let’s see how many of you want to give it a try to promote nonphysical businesses as well. You’ve seen people walking around with banners, signs, and posters right? Well, those grab attention very well. Everyone wants to know what you are up to. If you decide to give live events a try – this would be a great way to promote them. Don’t just hang up a banner outside – grab a sign and walk around town if you can. Stand outside and hold the sign, round up some friends or hire someone to come help.

(If you need Kansas City Marketing Company’s help with design we would be thrilled to help out)

Videos

This one is defiantly not used much. This works for any business. Make videos. Talk about your business, updates, news, you, your staff, your business partners, goals, the reason you do what you do. Just talk to people. People love to know all about you. People want to be a part of something and in the “loop”. This goes along perfectly with social media management.

They don’t have to be super long, super edited, or anything special. Just take a video on your phone, tablet, laptop, whatever it is you have – and upload it to your social media platforms. This will really help with credibility and engagement.

That’s a wrap for this article. I hope you have found it helpful and I hope you will give these things a shot in your business. If you ever need us – we’re here! Thanks for following and we’ll speak soon!

Choosing the Right Legal Structure for Your Business

When starting a business, one of the first things you need to think about is legal structure. So, there are several options and we are going to help you decide which is best for you. Usually, I recommend that you first start out as a limited liability company (LLC). Later you can plan to convert to a C corporation. But, before I get into all that – I want to talk to you about your options.

Sole-Proprietorship.

My mother’s business when I was a kid was a sole proprietorship. Most would agree that this is the easiest type of business to organize. All you really need to do is apply for the required licenses. A lot of people choose this because of tax reasons. For tax reporting just  report the company’s income and expenses on a form that you will attach to your annual tax return. That’s it! But, from personal experience, I can tell you it isn’t 100% the best choice for everyone.  The bad news is – as a sole proprietor you are 100%  liable for all the company’s debts. This could be anything from vendors, taxes, payroll, and  loans.

So, you really aren’t better off going this route for long. To start out with – sure. But it’s not a good place to live. We recommend choosing one of these other options for the long term.

screen-shot-2016-11-21-at-3-37-56-pm

Corporation

Everyone knows this one. A corporation is a company or group of people authorized to act as a single entity (legally a person) and recognized as such in law. What this has on a sole-proprietorship is that a corporation can provide protection to a founder against the liabilities of the company. For example, bank accounts, personal expenses, etc. But you have to also think about this – there are two kinds of corps.

The first one is – a Subchapter S (S Corporation) is a form of corporation that meets specific Internal Revenue Code requirements, giving a corporation with 100 shareholders or less the benefit of incorporation while being taxed as a partnership. An S corporation will not pay any federal corporate-level income taxes. The profits and losses of the corporation will be reported on the individual tax returns of the shareholders. You can only have 99 shareholders with an S Corp. And you cannot have limited partnerships and only one class of stock for economic allocations.

Next is a C corporation. A C corporation, under the United States federal income tax law, refers to any corporation that is taxed separately from its owners. A C corporation is distinguished from an S corporation, which generally is not taxed separately. It doesn’t have quite as many restrictions as an S Corp. Unlike with the S Corp – you are not limited to the number of shareholders you have. And you can have any number of classes of stock. But, choosing this option may result in double taxation of a corporation’s profits.

Limited Liability Company (LLC) 

This is another one you might be familiar with. An LLC is a corporate structure whereby the members of the company cannot be held personally liable for the company’s debts or liabilities. (Great right?) Limited liability companies are pretty much  hybrid entities that combine the characteristics of a corporation and a partnership or sole proprietorship. It is taxed like a partnership but provides the limited liability protection of a corporation, while still avoiding double taxation. This works well for those who will not seek venture capital or other substantial outside financing, however – if you do plan on seeking venture capital outside funding might want to go with C-Corp.

If you have to – start off as an LLC – and if it isn’t right for you  I recommend changing over to one of the corporates I mentioned above as soon as you can. Do some consulting – talk to other business owners, an attorney, and/or your accountant about all of this. They can help you figure out which will fit you best.

As always we thank you for stopping by and we hope you will be back soon! If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions for future topics – feel free to drop us a line! You can check us out on Facebook

Beginners Guide to Email Marketing

Email marketing is a form of direct response marketing: sending ads, offers, business proposals, etc., to a list of people who are interested in what you offer. Email marketing is often a number one choice for many successful marketers. It’s a great way to make connections, build relationships, and get long-term results.

Advantages

Email marketing is one of my favorite ways to promote products online. It has a lot of advantages. Some great advantages of email marketing include the following:

  • Low Cost: Email Marketing is cheap. It doesn’t cost anything to send emails. All you pay for is your monthly subscription to your email autoresponder.
  • Instantaneous: Emails are instant. Way better than direct mail and much more effective at times.
  • Communication: It puts communication on auto pilot.
  • Widespread: Gives you the ability to reach more people at once. You can send out an email broadcast to thousands of people at once.
  • Result tracking: You can see your results much faster than you can with many other methods, such as direct mail, social media, etc. People used to have to wait a long time to see their results from using direct mail. With email marketing, you know within a day how well that email worked, and exactly what the results are.

Disadvantages

There are some disadvantages. Not all your emails will be delivered. Especially if you are using certain words. Some words will trigger spam filters.

Examples: Free, Limited time, Sale, 50% off (or any other % off), millions, make money, all caps, etc., and not everyone is going to open your emails but there are ways around this. I will share those secrets later on.

Get a good autoresponder

One of the first things you are going to need is an autoresponder. An autoresponder is what you will use to send emails out to your list. There are several autoresponders to choose from. Let me show you the one I use, and how to set it up.

My recommended email autoresponder is Aweber. Aweber is one of the best email marketing services out there. It’s affordable, easy to use, and it’s effective. I have been using it myself for a while now. They offer a 30 day free trial for new customers. Don’t mess around with a completely free autoresponder such as MailChimp because it isn’t worth it. Free autoresponders usually do not have as many options and are not user friendly.

STEP 1: Once you visit Aweber, you will be taken to a page where you will log in once your account is created. See the menu button on the top right? Click it. You will then come to this page. Under support click “getting started.”

MENUaweber1

Step 2: This is the next page. In the top right you’ll see a green “free trial” button. Go there. You will have to fill some things out but it doesn’t take long. After you have set up your account you will need to create a signup form or capture page. A capture page is a single page website which you will use to collect leads and build your list. Anyone interested in what you are offering will put in their name and email address and opt into your list.

Aweber signup

This way they are self identifying themselves to what you offer. Once you have their email address you can follow up with them and keep an open channel of communication. You can also build a relationship with them which is very important. They need to like and trust you, and then you give them exactly what they want.

Step 3: Once you have your account set up and you’re logged in, you will come to your Home page/dashboard. This page is where you can navigate your autoresponder, see broadcasts, open rates, subscribers, unsubscribes, and more. But for now, do you see where I have underlined “sign up forms?” Go there.

awebersignup

Next, you’ll be brought to a page where all your signup forms will be kept. For now, yours is blank. In order to gather subscribers, you need to make one. You want to click on the green button that says “create a signup form.” It should look like this.

Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 12.04.47 PM

AWeber offers their own templates and designs to help you create signup forms. Before you choose the look and feel of your signup form, there is something you need to remove. You need to remove the “name” field. You’ll get more opt-ins this way. People will often not want to give you their name. So it’s best if you skip that for now.

Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 12.10.25 PM

Here are some examples of good capture pages. This first example is from a business partner of mine. He chose a simple background, black and red text, and an orange button. You don’t want to get too flashy with your signup forms or too “busy.” Keep it clean, simple, and something that will reflect you well.

Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 2.37.53 PM

Here is another good example of a high converting capture page. This is the page John uses to promote his eBook. Notice that his button is also orange and he uses red and black text? There is a connection here.

capturepage

Here is another one of mine. This one was promoting a live event in Minneapolis. I added a background picture of the city. Make sure that you can read the words though because some background images won’t work. They will clash with the color text and you can’t read it.

confirm1

You can also use websites like LeadPages or ClickFunnels to make your capture pages. ClickFunnel is more powerful than LeadPages, but LeadPages cost less money.

Building your list

Solo Ads: Now that you have set up your autoresponder and created a few signup forms, you can promote and get subscribers. There are a lot of ways you can get people to subscribe. One of the most popular ways is through solo ads. A solo ad is a tool used in email marketing to get traffic, leads, and eventually make sales. You buy a set amount of clicks to be sent to your sign up form, and then a certain amount of those clicks turn into subscribers. This is how I built my list when I started email marketing.

Even though solo ads might have some nasty rumors, it doesn’t mean it can’t work. If you find the right provider, and have a good enough offer, then you have a good chance of success.

Social Media: Another way you can build your list is through social media. If you have a Facebook fan page, Twitter, a blog etc., you can promote your list there. I actually have run some Facebook ads to my signup form before. You have to be careful with this though, you don’t want to come off as a spammer. Look into social media marketing to learn more about this.

Videos: Several of my business partners like to promote their business and offers through video. I often do the same. It’s easy to make a video that provides value and share content, then, at the end, you offer the option to subscribe for more videos, blog posts, etc. You can also throw in a free bonus to help them get over the fence.

Subject Lines and Previews

There are two very important things people look at when they receive an email: the subject line, and the preview. Here is an example. The subject line is “Sitting in a lawyer’s office” and the preview reads, “You should try it. It’s very helpful. Today I have stepped out of my u…” A lot of people opened this one. They wanted to know why I was sitting in a lawyer’s office, and why I recommended doing the same.

Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 12.12.49 PM

These two things will help the subscriber know whether or not they want to open this email. One of the most important things about an email is the subject line. The better the subject like the more open rates you’ll have.

Remember though, you can have a great email, packed with lots of value. But if the subject line is bad, chances are the email won’t be opened because the subject line fails to do its job. Then the email copy doesn’t matter. When writing your emails always think of this: Would I send an email like this to a friend? Is this interesting? How does this sound to others?

You want to sound friendly and trustworthy. Don’t send things that look fake. As one of my mentors said, “Don’t send anything that is going to scream ‘I’m an advertisement! Ignore me!’” You are not the only one emailing these people. Don’t take their engagement for granted.

You need to stand out from everyone else emailing them. Avoid cheesy and dorky form lines like “Amazing Health Guy” or “$$$Lynell Ford$$$$.” Email inboxes are personal. Most of your friends wouldn’t put dollar signs around their names and neither would most business people. Also it’s best if you don’t choose a weird email for yourself like“makemills@money.com” or “cashbreakers@cash.biz.” Try to raise curiosity or even confuse them. The subject like doesn’t need to make sense all the time. For example:

  • Don’t Be a TV Dinner
  • Sorry, I messed up
  • Why I love apples
  • Getting Lost on a Road Trip
  • I’ve Got Chewing Gum in My Hair
  • Photos Enclosed Do Not Bend
  • Thun Thun Thun

Another thing you can do is something like this “RE: Are you coming?” and use words like “this” and “it.” Usually when you have replied to an email you will see RE: next to the subject line so it’s as if you were having a conversation. But don’t overuse this. And despite what people say you can use negative subject lines. Here are some examples:

  • This sucks
  • Things are really bad
  • Don’t take this as an insult…
  • I hate this
  • Are You a Loser?

It’s all about what gets their attention. Another thing that will help your open rates is to try sending your emails out early in the morning. Around 4:30 or 5:00am. They will be closer to the top of their inbox. If you have a large list of people – and some are international – learn those time zones. For example, I am in North Carolina, U.S.A so if I’m emailing people on the west coast – they are 3 hours behind me. Or if I have people in Australia, I need to get familiar with those time zones. You don’t always have to do this – but it does help.

Recycling Emails

If you send out an email that no one opens, you can “recycle” it – just change the subject line and first few sentences. You will see what works best. You can take old topics and put a different spin on it. You can also take other people’s topics and talk about the same thing. Don’t copy their work though, it needs to be your own unless you have permission from the author.

Sometimes I will send out a broadcast and the open rates won’t be as good as I’d like so I will change the subject line and rewrite the first paragraph or so to make it better, clean it up more and maybe add some different photos. This helps me to know what those on my list like, what they are interested in, and what they need to hear from me.

Learn To Write Good Copy

It is always helpful to touch up your writing skills. Most people don’t want to hire a professional ghost writer so here is my advice. You most likely have people marketing to you in your own email in-box. If you follow any professional gurus, look at the kind of emails they write. Just look at the way they speak and phrase things. You can even look at their blogs. Then take these emails and write them yourself. Don’t use them for anything, just write them out. This way you’ll start to get the feel for it and how things should flow. Everyone has their own voice, and you will eventually find yours.

Email marketing is a long-term thing. If you don’t get instant results, don’t give up. Keep doing it. Remember that everyone who opens your email is a real person. Think of them as individuals with unique wants and needs. You can always ask your subscribers what they’d like to know/hear from you. Lastly, don’t just market to them. Give real value. Remember, people want to buy, but they don’t want to be sold to.