Category Archives for "B2B Marketing"


5 Of The Most Uncommon Ways To Close More Sales

There is no question about it.

The way we do business and generate sales has changed greatly in just the past twenty years.

For better or worse it has been the Internet that has caused a major shift in how business in done.

Clients and customers no longer feel as though the local shop in town is the best choice for their needs.

They can go online and outsource work and get products direct from suppliers for a much lower rate. That is why it is so important that you have the ability to close sales.

However, this is where things start to get really difficult for people in sales. You can no longer act as though you are getting the sale.

Make sense?

Let’s take a step back in time to the age of disco balls and awesome polyester suits.


Back then it was perfectly fine to be a salesman and you knew what had to be done to close a sale. Customers and clients knew they were going to be in for a hard sell. Don’t believe me?

Ask your parents or grandparents what it was like trying to buy that Chevy Impala.

They knew they were going to sit in that car dealership sweating in the summer heat until they collapsed and bought the car.

Salesmen were expected to be pushy, ignorant, and saw the client as a bonus.

Times have changed all of that, which I think most of us can say is a good thing. In today’s world salespeople are expected to listen to the customer and make sure they are getting what is best for them.

It is not about pushing the most expensive product.

So that leaves many of us in the proverbial pickle. How is it possible to close a sale without it seeming like it is a close? That seems like a question better left for a college philosophy class.

You don’t need a philosophy degree to close more sales. In fact, we are going to discuss five of the most uncommon ways you can close more sales. Better yet you don’t need the cheap polyester suit to do it.

These are smooth and go with what customers expect out of good customer relations.

1 – How Much Content Do You Produce?

One of the most uncommon ways of closing more sales is through the use of content marketing.

content marketing and growing your business closing sales

It is so important to make sure that the content you are creating for your websites and social media accounts are working for you. It is important that the content you create focuses on what your clients need and hope to obtain.

Of course, all your content should have a soft sell directed toward your other products and services. Your website should be tailored to be a silent salesperson, closing sales 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

If it is not doing this for you, it is important to hire someone who can help create that type of content.

2 – Forget About Your Sales

That would seem like an unlikely way of closing a sale, wouldn’t it?

However, it is vital that you forget about trying to sell to your clients.

plan and focus on clients first

Your number one goal should be focusing on their needs.

Do you have a solution to their problem?

If you think about their needs over everything else you are going to be able to close the sale every single time.

In fact, think of yourself as a problem-solver and not a salesperson.

3 – No Two Clients Needs Are Ever The Same

One of the most important aspects on closing a sale is realizing that no two clients are ever the same nor are their needs.

sales management is not cookie cutter

You cannot give the same solution over and over, it is vital that you actually listen and work with the client to give them what they need.

Too many salespeople will “listen” to their clients only to give them a “cookie-cutter” resolution.

By choosing to close a sale this way will only insult the client and send them elsewhere.

Instead, engage the customer in a real conversation that focuses on what they need. Be proactive and make them feel comfortable. By doing so, you have a much greater chance of closing a sale as opposed to the generic closing speech.

4 – Understand Your Client’s Expertise And Needs

Once you have been working in a business for months or years you begin to know it quite well. You, in fact, become an expert in your field.


Your clients come to you for your expertise and knowledge and hope that you are able to guide them in the right direction.

There will be times you have client’s who believe they know what is best for their company and will be adamant about choosing a product or service, even if you know it is the wrong decision.

When moment’s like this appear in your daily routine it is the opportune time to take the high ground and close a sale, unlike no other way.

In the past, you would have just accepted the sale and went on with your daily basis, never once again thinking about your clients wrong decision.

However, if you know it is the wrong decision, you have to assert your expertise and simply deny the sale. Inform your client that you cannot under good faith allow them to make that purchase.

Two things are bound to happen here:

One they are going to curse you out for not letting buy what they want. However, they will be impressed with your level of integrity and the potential of losing a sale and will go with your recommendation.

Two, they will curse you out and walk out the store. In this case, if you were originally right, they will come back to you more impressed than ever with your business integrity. It is important to remember that not every lost sale is a bad thing, there are always opportunities.

5 – Be Truthful

Imagine that, telling the truth would be one of the most uncommon ways of closing the sale. Far too many businesses will lie and manipulate until their client buys a package or product.

There is a drive among many salespeople to promise anything they can to get a new lead or client in the door.

Build trust for sales success be truthful

Even if they are unable to meet the clients needs and expectations they will say they can just to get that client’s business. What do you think happens with this client in a couple of weeks or months when their expectations are not being met? They leave the business and are highly dissatisfied.

While it may seem counter-intuitive it is best to let the client know you cannot meet their expectations at this time.

Whether they are looking for high-quality web content or 1-gigabyte high internet speed. It is best to explain you do not offer that service at the moment, but you will do your best to make it available as soon as possible.

The client will appreciate your honesty and integrity more than if you had just signed them up for the next best thing you had.

Remember to ask for their contact details and when you are able to accommodate them, give them a call and offer a free trial.

You will more than likely close the sale with your exceptional customer service skills and willingness to please.

By following the tips in this article you will see that you are not only closing more sales, but you are cultivating clients that are going to respect you and buy from you over and over.

These relationships are priceless in business and only a few are needed for long-term success.

As your reputation grows due to your integrity so will the number of referrals and clients.

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CheckList: Tips For Creating Highly Effective Lead Magnets For Your Website

In this post, you’ll learn about lead magnets, ideas, delivery and design of lead magnets.

You’ll also discover the lead magnet definition:

what-is-a-lead-magnet-chaosmap - Lead Magnet – noun – an irresistible bribe offering a specific chunk of value to a prospect in exchange for their contact information.

What is a lead magnet? (

Very few people seem to remember but there was a time when people wanted to receive e-mails from anyone.

Free e-mail on the Internet was a novelty at that time and people were willing to input their e-mail address in any form that asked them for their e-mail.

Thanks to the relentless spam and misuse of e-mail marketing, these days it is difficult to get people to part with their e-mail.

However, e-mail marketing still remains one of the top forms of marketing as it gives businesses direct access to potential and existing customers.

Since everyone realizes the importance of building an e-mail list, almost every business has an e-mail subscription box on their website.

But people have become so used to the same old strategies that they simply ignore those subscription boxes unless they specifically want to subscribe.

It’s similar to the phenomenon of banner blindness.

Businesses need innovative thinking to get visitors to given their e-mail and hence, the concept of lead magnet.

What is Lead Magnet?

In simple terms, it can be defined as an offer that is designed to get website visitors to give their contact information in exchange for something valuable.

It is also known by many other names such as free gift, human grabber, ethical bribe, sign up gift, sign up offer and incentive among others.

It can be in a variety of forms but the most often used incentive is a downloadable, free report or e-book.

So, if you want to acquire more subscribers, here are a few tips on how to create effective lead magnets for your website.

Lead magnet properties:

Lead magnets will vary with the kind of business you have.

For instance, lead magnets work great for:

  • consultants
  • trainers
  • coaches
  • software & technology companies
  • local business owners
  • information marketers

…and in general, business professionals and firms who sell tools, information and expertise.

The lead magnet can be in the form of:

  • a free webinar
  • a free assessment test
  • a free podcast
  • a free video or video series
  • downloadable E-books
  • white papers
  • cheat sheets / resources lists
  • training courses via e-mail
  • and other such information.

But it doesn’t stop there.

Similarly, e-commerce businesses can have lead magnets in the form of:

  • free shipping coupon
  • discount coupon
  • discount coupon for first order
  • tips on saving money
  • free VIP membership
  • free educational materials for solving problems
  • free gift with first-order and similar.

In the case of service business such as mechanics, plumbers, doctors, plastic surgeons, realtors and veterinarians, a lead magnet can be:

  • free online tools such as specialized calculator
  • tips to be a smart buyer
  • free coupons (with expiration date)
  • how-to content for DIY projects
  • educational download about the industry and what to avoid

In the case of software business, it can be a

  • free member account
  • premium features for a week
  • free trial of software tool
  • industry research report or white paper
  • downloadable desktop app with limited features

Things You Need to Do before Creating Lead Magnet

One way to find out the most effective lead magnet for your business is to create a number of things without putting too much thought into it and test them all.

However, this is inefficient and very costly way of doing things.

How to create a lead magnet, you say?

Many people make the mistake of putting too much effort into an idea that they think will work but ultimately it turns out that nobody or a very few people want that thing. You can never be sure which idea will click with potential customers.

A better way to do is think about your target audience, their goals and how your lead magnet can help them.

The first step in the process is to figure out the demographics of your niche. It will help you in figuring out the goals of your targeted customers and how you can help them. Take a notepad and start brainstorming.

Write down as many ideas as you can and start creating headlines. Take 5 to 10 of these ideas (which you think are the best) and write them down on a separate sheet of paper.

To choose the best among these, turn to your existing customers and ask them about their opinion. You can give them a call or meet them face to face or use online forms.

This will give you some winners and now you can build upon those ideas and split test them.

This process will save you a lot of time, money and energy.

Examples of Highly Effective Lead Magnets

Interactive Quiz

This lead magnet is successfully used by many businesses such as Infusionsoft and Hubspot.


In the case of Hubspot, visitors are asked to click a button (Step 1) and then enter their information to download the State of Inbound Report (Step 2). However, visitors need to give their e-mail to get the information and custom downloadable report.

Similarly, Infusionsoft asks the visitors to take the assessment test and visitors are asked to input their website & e-mail to see the results.

Additionally, a visitor can opt-in to other ‘juicy’ marketing and business tips.


This lead magnet works as people have already invested a few minutes of their time and do not want to lose that investment. A vast majority of visitors give their e-mail address to find out more about their website.

In another example from hubspot (in los angeles, ca), we see an a presentation of a direct, one-pager (above the fold of the page) squeeze page with an offer (bribe) for the “How To Get 100,000 readers for your blog”:


Special Deal Offer

The ‘special deal’ lead magnet is used by a lot of service companies. They usually offer a coupon or special deals in return for e-mail of the visitor.

Since people always want free stuff, they are ready to pay the small price of giving their e-mail address to get a coupon that can be worth a few dollars.

Video or Podcast

Videos are the in thing. Everyone loves to watch videos on Internet. In fact, it is estimated that 70% of Internet bandwidth is consumed by video content.

So, create a great video with proper editing and an interesting title to capture leads. Keep the video short so that visitors can watch the whole video in one sitting.

Podcasts are also gaining popularity. It is possible that some of your potential customers like podcasts. So, you can also give them the option of a free podcast in place of video.

Free Shipping or Discount Coupons

Various shipping options and unique use of coupons are ideas from the most effective lead magnets for e-commerce companies.

Many companies offer a discount coupon for first order or free shipping coupon on the first-order in exchange for their e-mail.

This is a very powerful way of building up a subscriber list of potential customers who can be e-mailed again with special offers and discounts.


Overall, the goal is to create highly targeted lead magnets.

Generic freebies that are not relevant to your business and not helpful for your customers are not going to work well as people are bored of those things.

It is important to use separate lead magnets for different products and services.

Do not forget to split test your lead magnets and retain the one with the highest conversion rate.

You can start with or to create and edit lead magnet pages and popups for your website.

WARNING: But, as you’ve learned – DO NOT start with the shiny tools!

Begin creating a strategy, document the steps, be clear on the goal and get help if you need to.

BONUS: Get the free lead generation guide that will show you how to quickly get more leads from traffic. Includes 2 bonus strategies not found in this post.


9 Unforgettable Things You Did Not Know About Hiring and Managing Remote Teams

Owning any type of company brings challenges and rewards related to the specifics of the business.

For example, if your business is primarily online, then you need not be restricted to the workforce in your geographical area.

You can build a remote team by finding the ideal candidates from the country, or even around the world.

Remote work continues to trend upward, with 2014 posting a 26% increase in open remote job postings over 2013 –

These professionals will be more suited to the task than you would find if you limit yourself to your city or the surrounding area for potential employees.

The trends are clear, for example: Kaplan allows about 85 percent of its workforce to work remotely, a move that has occurred in recent years.

Big companies like Aetna, over 31 percent of its employees engage in telework, and it is embedded into Aetna’s HR policies and practices.

As with everything else, hiring and managing remote team members takes a new strategy from what works in traditional employment structures.

However, when you are able to assemble and manage the right team for your business, you are sure to see amazing benefits take place.

Says Anna Ress, HR Communications Manager at global tech company Intuit“In today’s global economy and with Intuit’s expanding global footprint, we know great talent is everywhere”.

You need to have open communication with potential and current employees, as they need to have with each other.

These nine tips will assist you in assembling and managing your remote, outsourced teams:

One: Seek Out Candidates with the Right Characteristics for the Available Position

There are two aspects of characteristics that you need to determine prior to posting an available position.

The first is related to online workers in general.

The second to the position itself.

Those working on remote teams must be self-starters.

Additionally, they need to have the confidence to move forward on their own recogntion and a willingness to take feedback in order to improve.

Your team members all need good communication skills, particularly across the various platforms you plan to use.

The written word, and possibly comfortable in video chat.

Or even making videos is something that you may need from your team members. If so, include this information in the job description.

The other aspect will regard the specific tasks you need the person to fulfill for your company.

Find out what type of expertise is appropriate for your position, and research what similar companies are offering.

Make sure to offer a competitive wage, though you may be able to save a bit because the person does not have to commute to and from work each day.

Two: Develop Hiring Practices Suited to Your Needs from Remote Team Members

There are several websites where you can post job descriptions with the criteria mentioned.

However, you will need a way to filter through the applicants.

Ideally, you will have developed hiring practices that allow you to select an applicant who fits in well with your company and your current team members.

One idea is to have the person work on a trial basis within a smaller project, and then decide if you wish to offer them a permanent position on your staff.  You may be able to afford several candidates at the same time, give a similar “test” and award the job to the “winner”.

Often, those with existing remote work experience begin more productively, though those new to telecommuting can pick up the ropes quickly, if the work is right for them and with the right support structure in place.

Three: Choose Time or Productivity in Goal Setting and Management

You will need to decide how you are going to judge productivity in the workforce. You can go with a time based option, or one based on goals (project based).

This will depend upon your managerial style and needs of the firm.

Affordable software will allow you to remotely track the working hours of your remote teams if you are paying them by the hour.

However, your business style and structure may do better with a “by the job” type of arrangement.

This requires an increased hands-on approach, which will allow you to see how your workers productivity is on a regular, possibly even daily, basis.

Four: Create a “Water Cooler”

One of the drawbacks to remote teams is that it can be difficult for team members to feel connected with each other.

This can lead to communication troubles that damage your company and employee morale.

Set up a chat room somewhere that all of your workers can log into and share non-work related information.

While this may seem unnecessary, being able to bond over silly memes, new babies in the family, and other non-work related communication can help to reduce stress at work.

And, it will help your employees to feel like a team instead of an isolated person at a desk in the corner of their home or remote office.

Five: Utilize Multiple Forms of Communication

The Internet offers various forms of communication for team members, and you should use these.

Chat programs are great for short, quick messages, and are more personal than e-mail. You can also use video chat when, particularly when giving performance reviews.

If you need to present a short lecture to the entire team, but do not need them to all respond immediately, you can create a video, and let them watch and respond during their next shift. Videos are great training vehicles and is a must.

You may even consider using these in conjunction with other data, such as infographics, in your video presentations.

Six: Schedule Regular Meetings to Accommodate All Worker Time Zones

One of the reasons that people choose remote positions is freedom in scheduling their days and weeks.

Be up front during the hiring process about the regularity of staff meetings, and ask what days and times are restricted for the new hire.

Your employees may live in multiple time zones, and have vastly different schedules. Attempt to accommodate them all.  If in countries where Internet can be spotty (Philippines) during rain seasons or special holiday events, manage their (and your clients) expectations.

Seven: Have a Clear Hierarchy and Systems in Place

If you are going to have more than one person besides you on your team, the exact position of the relationship between employees should be explicitly stated.

In the event of your unavailability, the responsibilities of the rest of the team, and who has authority needs to be clear, to everyone.

Developing these simple guidelines will allow your team members to feel more comfortable, which is a plus for everyone!

Additionally, you need to have some standardized procedure for task completion. It is unfair to assume that everyone will work it out among themselves.

Should you lose an employee, or a contractor – a new one needs to have guidelines regarding the position that will allow for a smoother transition, saving you time, money and stress.

Eight: Wisely Pick Your Tools for Team Sharing

There are all types of ways that you can improve communications between team members.

Various apps and tools can allow one person to show their screen to others, so that they can show other team members, rather than just telling them.

This is a far more effective means of communicating.

Likewise, you will need to decide how you want documents and spreadsheets to be shared between team members.

There are various tools out there, with options including whether or not it can be edited by those who view it. It’s easy to set up via roles and access levels.

Nine: Pen a Weekly Company Newsletter

One way to really keep your eye on what is going on, and give credit where credit is due, is to send out a weekly, or even biweekly newsletter.

Take a few minutes to note each member, and what they have contributed to the team during the week being discussed.

You may want to do this as a video, or an email.

Consider adding some humor, if appropriate.

Smooth company operations demand excellent communication and monitoring to ensure that everyone is staying on task, and that their needs are being fulfilled, such as flexibility in scheduling, which is common for telecommuting jobs.

By searching in the right places, and giving employees a “trial run” on a smaller project, you can see if an individual is a good fit for your existing team before offering them a full-time, or permanent position.

Use tracking devices and develop the company culture through positive communication means and regularly scheduled team meetings.

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customer experience before brand experience new marketing trend chaosmap

7 Reasons Why Customer Experience Trumps Brand Experience In Marketing

A recent Gartner survey has set the ball rolling among marketers when it comes to the most important marketing factors in the (near) future.


(From Gartner – Customer Experience)

The survey states that are almost 89% of the companies will compete with others on the basis of customer experience alone by the year 2016.

This figure stood at just 36%, 4 years ago (Source Gartner).

Marketing is changing.

In simple terms, the marketing paradigm is changing fast and companies that realize this and invest in their customer experience capabilities will leap ahead of their competitors and will be much more successful than their peers.

Brand Management?

There was a time when marketing was all about brand management. Companies preferred to spend most of their marketing budget on branding and did not pay attention to other aspects of marketing.

However, things have changed with the emergence of Internet as everybody has a portable computer in their pocket these days.

A Vast Ocean.

Various social media platforms have huge reach these days and new social media platforms are emerging regularly. For instance, Facebook has a membership of over 1.1 billion globally. Similarly, Twitter has over 300 million active users and Snapchat has over 100 million active members.

Reputation Management.

Due to the emergence of the social media websites, news spread fast these days and bad news goes viral even faster. This is the reason that most of the marketers, executives and businesses believe that customer experience is the future of marketing.

The Customer Focus.

While there has been always talk about big data that includes social, content and mobile, being the next big step in marketing but all of these elements are truly a way to enrich customer experience.

Customers has always been King but progressive businesses are changing various aspects of their business from organizational structure to processes to strategies to culture.

These aspects are being redesigned to keep the customer in the center.

Yes, The Customer Experience.

Success of a business depends a lot on the way customers are treated especially when each customer has the potential to make his or her story heard by thousands by sharing it on various social media platforms.

Customer spending is increasingly driven by customer experiences instead of branding messages. Brand is important but customer experience is more important.

Here is a list of seven reasons why customer experience trumps brand experience.

#1 – Customer Experience Is Tangible

One of the main things that separate customer experience from brand experience is that customer experience is tangible whereas brand messages are not.

While customers may feel strongly about a brand, their loyalty is decided by their experience in the store or while dealing with customer service.

Success With Apple.

For instance, one of the main reasons of the success of Apple even though its products are up to three times as costly as compared to other products is that they pay a lot of attention to customer experience.

In other terms, the success of Apple shows that customers are willing to pay good premium for excellent experience and customer service.

While customers are less likely to share their positive branding messages from companies on their social media profiles, they are more likely to share positive experiences with their friends and followers on social media.

#2 – Customer Experience Is Personal and Human

While branding is important, a brand is still not a real person.

Marketers mostly focus on various branding elements such as colors, training, language and aesthetics when it comes to branding. However, if the actual customer experience does not match the experience promised by the brand image, it can quickly backfire.

It’s not difficult to feel the disconnect between the promise made by the brand and the actual delivery at the store.

In other words, a company’s brochure may say that they are the best service but what actually matters is how a customer experiences and interacts with their service.

In other words, better customer experience is like having a personal conversation with the customers.

It helps in earning their trust and deepening the relationship. Feedback from customers helps businesses in understanding whether they are doing things in the right manner.

#3 – Focus on Customer Experience Leads to Improved Customer Satisfaction

A recent customer service experience survey by McKinsey reports that maximizing the satisfaction of customer journey has the potential to not only increase customer satisfaction by up to 20%.

But it may also increase revenue by up to 15% while at the same time lowering the cost of servicing customers by up to 20%. (Source McKinsey)

The name of the game here is consistency. In simple terms, businesses need to continually work to offer superior service to their customers at all times and during each interaction.

Each interaction with the customer should be consistent in terms of rules, policies and support mechanism.

#4 – Better Customer Experience Forces Repeat Customers and Enhances Customer Loyalty

There was a time when customer loyalty used to be a thing but things have changed a lot.

There is hyper competition in all the industries and customers do not perceive the switching cost from one brand to another to be too big to prevent them from switching.

In fact, according to one survey, almost 44% of consumers are of the opinion that customer loyalty is dead. (Source Avaya)

However, it is not completely true.

Customer loyalty exists but only when companies pay attention to the customer experience.

Customers are usually devoted to a brand but when they feel that there is no competitive advantage offered by one particular brand over another, another brand can easily wean them away.

Properly executed customer experience can be the biggest point of differentiation from competitors.

Customers today want an experience that exceeds their expectations and impresses them. If they are impressed, customers will want to continue doing business with a brand.

Better customer experience is the unique value offered by a business that cannot be matched by a competitor.

Customer experience is one of the best ways to increase retention and loyalty. Better customer experience derives repeat purchases.

#5 – Better Customer Experience Gives a Competitive Advantage

Many analysts are of the opinion that the only metric that offers a sustainable competitive advantage over the long term is customer experience.

It is one of the best ways to differentiate from competitors.

While a business can always attract new customers and retain existing ones by offering lowest prices, a business cannot run sustain by continuously offering lower prices.

Amazon Success.

For instance, in the world of retail, Amazon started by offering lower prices in the beginning.

However, if you ask a majority of the customers of Amazon, they will agree that they chose to buy from Amazon due to superior customer experience.

There are no lines on the website and more often than not, Amazon meets their shipping predictions.

Customers always expect to receive their products within two days and Amazon delivers most of the times. In fact, they go out of their way to ensure deliveries in time during the holidays.

This is what has helped Amazon in weaning away customers from a brick and mortar stores.

It won’t be wrong to say that better customer experience has given Amazon a huge competitive advantage over its rivals.

The Internet is full of stories where delighted customers have shared their positive experiences with Amazon customer service.

#6 – Customer Experience Directly Impacts Bottom Line

This is the most important thing when it comes to focusing on customer experience as compared to branding.

Many research studies have reported that customers are always willing to spend more money with businesses that offer superior customer experience.

One research study done by CEI states that around 86% of customers are willing to pay more if they get better customer experience.

However, the survey also reported that only 1% of customers felt that the business is able to meet their expectations on consistent basis.

In simple terms, this is a huge opportunity for businesses to get more customers and retain them by improving the customer experience. (Source Forbes)

#7 – Customers Are Much More Powerful Today

The customer today is much more powerful as compared to an average customer a decade ago.

A single customer can bring tens of hundreds of new customers to a business by sharing their customer experience on their social media provides.

It is a well-known fact that the acquisition cost of a referral customer is much less than as compared to a non-referral customer.

It has also been confirmed by research that a referral customer has a higher lifetime value as compared to a non-referral.

Superior customer service has the potential to create big advocates for business.

People naturally tend to share better customer experience as they want their friends and family members to experience superior customer service.

With social media increasing playing an important role in the buying decisions, customer experience has become a big differentiator for businesses.

There was a time when customer experience was seen as a fad. Customer experience is here to stay and a number of case studies have demonstrated the importance focusing on customer experience.

The companies that will embrace customer experience are going to thrive and the companies that fail are going to fade away.

Angry customers are more likely to share their bad experience on the Internet through a tweet, review on Yelp, reviews on a dorm and by commenting on the Facebook page.

I’m sure you have questions. Here’s a way to get started:

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marketers use persuasion tactics to make you buy chaosmap

11 Sneaky Ways Marketers Persuade You To Buy Online

Marketing is an art. (And there are some who are better at it than others).

Ever gone through a website and been wooed into purchasing online? (…if you haven’t, you probably wouldn’t be reading this… 😉)

It happens all the time and it does not occur by accident.

The marketing team behind that specific website is focused on understanding you, and creates the suggestive messaging to enable prospective customers to easily make the purchase(s) and/or move through their sales funnel.

And, with content and marketing fast becoming the killer traffic and awareness combo for businesses in both B2C and B2B markets, you must ensure that all your efforts pay off (sales).

77% of US B2C marketers expect to create more marketing content in 2016 than 2015, compared to 21% for the same amount, and 2% for less (CMI)

So, what are the ways in which marketers are able to target leads and get them to convert?

There are eleven crafty methods that are used around the world with great success.

If you are marketer, you should review these, and see how and what you can apply in your business.

Persuasion (Peep Laja) and NLP (Wikipedia) techniques are fine and good to use, but manipulation is not, remember that. The power of words should not be under-estimated in this context.

Number 1 – Providing Assurances

Ever gone onto a website and sifted through products only to see a negative ‘1’ star rating beside a product?

You will never make the purchase.

However, what if the opposite was done?

5-star ratings (Google search results is a great example) can do the trick in elevating your brand position positively, while getting a person to make the purchase…and quickly.

It works well because you are able to demonstrate the product and/or service is well worth it, and you receive welcome social proof/love, and people respond favorably to that.

This is why testimonials, reviews and customer feedback are used all around the world.

It reduces the stress being put on the mind of the customer when forking over money and completing the payment.

Assurances are a neat marketing trick (when used with integrity) that will ensure the customer is more likely to make the purchase online as soon as they arrive on the site, or at least predisposed in doing so.

Number 2 – ‘Click To Action’ Buttons

This is quite common and one of the best approaches you are going to see and they are not even that ‘sneaky’.

In essence, you will place linked buttons on the website which are going to scream “CLICK HERE TO BUY NOW!” and your conversion rates will begin to soar through the roof.

You might sit back and wonder how could telling someone to do something work, but psychological studies have shown people do want to be told what to do.

They react positively to it as it makes them feel as if the right decision is being made.

These buttons are wonderful and it does not just have to be buttons on the site.

Even phrases in the sales copy attracting customers to purchase and pushing them in that direction can do the trick.

Direct response marketing combined with content marketing is both the buyers and sellers great friends, if done right: you both win!

Number 3 – Express Checkout

This is a nice method especially for those who don’t want to go through numerous hurdles to checkout.

Most want to put the item in their cart and go straight to the payment screen. For returning customers, it can become even easier as you will be able to checkout with one click.

This is seen with Amazon and they do this with wonderful proficiency.

You should take a look at their model in this regard and appreciate how they market to their customers. They want to showcase how the express checkout will speed things up.

Even a few seconds can make a difference in the mind of the customer that is on the site.

It will ensure they don’t have to get stuck on the site when making a purchase. Sometimes, it is something as unique as this that can do the trick.

Number 4 – Take Risk Off Of Their Shoulders

No one wants to shoulder all of the risk and it is as simple as this.

Marketers quickly realized when they told people about warranties and/or lifetime guarantees, they were more likely to purchase the items.

Now, you might sit back and wonder how smart it would be to offer something like this as people would keep returning items right?


Studies have shown most customers will make the purchase and even if they don’t like the product won’t want to return it. The introduction of try for free has worked wonders for this shoe company.

All you have to do is get them to make the initial purchase as the products being returned will be minimal at best.

Number 5 – Build A Narrative Around The Product/Service

A story is something most people can relate to. You want some sort of narrative to be built up and this can be done with any product.

Let’s assume you are selling an acne product.

You will talk about how the product is something that will help those who have self-confidence concerns due to their acne and find it to be unappealing.

This will help the customer relate to what is being sold to them and when that happens, the conversion is almost done right there and then.

They are more likely to take out their card and make the purchase as desired.

Number 6 – Cater To The Target Market

You have to cater to the target market. If the target market is young adults, you can’t speak to them as if you are talking to the ‘baby boomers’.

Each segment of the market is different and you have to take this into account well in advance.

Build the site, narrative, and general approach based on the target market. When they start to get attached to the site and your brand, the major portion of the job is already done. Continue to sell to them, and prioritize the highest returns in your business model.

They will continue to come back because they like what is being presented to them.

Number 7 – Build An ‘Enemy’ To Combat

There is always an enemy that you can build which both the customer and business can relate to.

Once again, let’s go back to the acne product. You will be able to built acne up as the enemy and this is as easy as it gets.

You start to get on the customer’s side and they are going to appreciate the solution you are providing.

When the common enemy is built up, you will start to work with the target market in order to help them out.

This will show them you are the right option to consider.

Number 8 – “Only 1 Left”

You have to create a sense of urgency so the customer gets nudged to make a purchase immediately.

If you don’t want to lose them you should be going with the ‘Only 1 left’ as that is going to make them rush.

They will feel as if they are going to lose out on a great purchase.

You can even take it a step higher and put a countdown timer on the page. This will put them on the clock and they will rush to make the purchase.

This is how you can get them to buy online with relative ease.

Number 9 – The Amazon Trick

This is a great trick and one Amazon has been using for a long time.

They understand how the customer works and have put in enough research and have volumes of data (big data) to understand psychological tendencies of an online shopper.

The trick Amazon uses and one that works well is the “order today and you will get it by x date (time)”. It is something that entices the customer to go ahead and take out their card.

It is almost as if you are giving them a nice gift to make the purchase.

Marketing is all about showing the customer they are important and their comfort is what matters.

Number 10 – Sale (But Displaying Original Price)

Putting up a sale should only be a part of the marketing approach being used.

You should be looking to display the old price as well and showcase how much the person is saving.

An example of this would be “you save 54%” as this is going to immediately showcase how much they can gain by buying now.

It is used all across the Internet and in offline marketing too — because of how well it works.

You might have ‘fallen’ for it yourself as it is something people can relate to immediately: they want to find a great deal and that is what shopping is all about.

Number 11 – Spend X Amount Of Money, Get Free Shipping

This is a beautiful marketing trick and one that has worked for numerous marketers over the years.

Look at all of the big retailers, they encourage customers to purchase right now to get free shipping.

It is one of the best methods to use for those who want to not only sell, but sell a lot at the same time.

You will often be surprised how alluring free shipping can be to customers.

They don’t want to go ahead and pay the extra $7 in order to have the product shipped to them.

You can take this a step further and start to offer faster shipping for even more money. Amazon has even implemented physical drop boxes (I have one at my local 7-11) and pushing for drone-based deliveries!

It is one of the best methods to get people to purchase and they won’t even notice you are doing it.

It has been proven again and again over the years because of how well it truly works.

These are the eleven “sneaky” methods used by marketers around the world with great consistency and results.

You might not even notice what is occurring until the purchase has been made. It takes a keen eye to notice these intricacies and you often have to tip your hat to their commitment to excellence.

You should be aiming to take a few of these ideas for yourself and maximizing the ability to sell online.

Converting leads is all about trying different approaches and analyzing what works and what does not.

As soon as you do this, the results will come racing in as desired.

BONUS: Get the free lead generation guide that will show you how to quickly get more leads from traffic. Includes 2 bonus strategies not found in this post.

business owner growing a business online coach mentor

The One Thing You Cannot Ignore About Growing A Business Online

Online businesses are the way of the future and many are pushing towards this path as time goes on. The lucrative nature of this option is hard to deny, yet it is not as easy as one might assume.

It is always smart to have some form of coach and/or mentor to guide you in the right direction. Even the top executives (think Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Google Execs) have coaches and mentors.

There is a clear reason why, which you’ll see…

However, what does it take to find one and what is the difference between a coach and a mentor?

You need to make sure you understand the process while vetting the options in front of you.

I’ll break down The Keys To Finding And Hiring A Coach Or Mentor in this post.

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Understanding Difference Between Coach And Mentor

Prior to assessing the keys to finding and/or hiring a coach or mentor, you need to understand the difference.

What are you on the look out for?

You can only determine this when you have a clear understanding of what each has to offer.

A coach is someone who is going to guide you every step of the way with clear instructions.

It would be something as simple as “do this and you will see results”. They are essentially taking your hand and guiding you through the process based on their own experiences.

A digital marketing consultant or coach can help you with specific directives for SEO, Facebook or Google Advertising, email marketing, content marketing, etc.

A mentor is not going to watch your every detailed move.

But, they will hold you accountable to goals and objectives. They will (if they’re good) tell you the things “like they are”. (You might not always like it, but that’s what you want, ultimately).

The purpose of a mentor is to develop an ongoing relationship. It is someone who you can can feel safe with, and use as a sounding board to bounce ideas off of. They have a more long-term approach where they are always a phone call away to help out.

They are rarely going to get involved in the actual decisions being made. In essence, they provide an opinion and you make the final decision.

A coach does not do this for you, as they sometimes will make the final decision.

chaosmap coaching vs mentoring graphic table


Realizing The Coaching or Mentoring Benefits

What are the benefits?

There are many benefits regardless of what direction you decide to go in. You are always going to have something to fall back on and that is hard to beat.

CEOs and most business owners tend to struggle because they try to do it all on their own. There should be someone who has ‘been there and done that’ in order to help you get through the rough patches. A balance of working “in” vs. “on” the business must be understood and applied.

It does not matter what online business you are running, rough patches are going to be around the corner.

A coach or mentor can assist with this, and assist in circumventing or limiting mistakes in the first place.

Focus On Assessing Their Experience

Let’s move onto the keys for finding and/or hiring someone to help you out.

You have to begin by taking a look at who they have worked with in the past and the results those specific owners got.

Did they enjoy working with this coach or mentor? Do you think they would fit in with what you are aiming for? Are they in the market that you are serving?

These are questions you are going to need to ask yourself as soon as you get the chance. Their experience is always going to have a role to play as you don’t want someone who is learning right along with you.

Don’t Hesitate To Compare Options

Don’t be afraid to sit down and compare options as there are going to be many in front of you.

It is not always going to be as simple as finding one coach or mentor and calling it a day.

There are often many equivalent options that are going to stand out and want to be assessed.

You need to give each one time and see who is the best for you. What might work for another CEO might not for you and that is the beauty of the process.

This is where balance can be found and you have to do your due diligence.

Pinpoint Personal Goals Beforehand

What are your own goals with regards to the online business?

What are you aiming for as soon as you get started in this new relationship? You want to make sure you have these ideas pinpointed as soon as possible. If you don’t even have a vision, you are not going to get far.

If you do have this in place, you will be able to filter out people who are not going to fit into these requirements. It can also help you decide whether you want a coach or a mentor along the way.

Sit Down And Listen To Them

The main thing you have to do is to sit down and see what they have to say. Do you jive with what they are telling you? Do you like their approach to the business?

If not, you will know they are not the right ones for you even if they are brilliant in the niche. You should not force the issue and go with those you can’t even tolerate.

And, make note of this: they don’t have to necessarily be a great teacher, but you must understand what they say, and apply it. They have been down the road you are taking.

This is a relationship that is going to be built and you have to focus on going with the best and that is something you can’t compromise on.

Consistency Is Key

Regardless of who you decide to go with, consistency is important in the long-run.

If you are not willing to stick it out with a specific coach or mentor, you are not going to see results and it is as simple as this. Business owners around the world are beginning to realize this.

You need to be able to tap into a consistent source of information as often as you can. If you are always getting information from different sources, the results might not be as good.

If you have a coach or mentor in place to help run an online business, the hurdles are going to start slipping away.

You are going to have a clearer path with regards to the approach needed to find success.

Running an online business is all about gaining experience and maximizing your potential in the long-term.

The keys listed here should help pinpoint what has to be done to find the right fit. No one wants a coach or mentor who does not understand the nuances of running an online business. This is why finding the best becomes important in the end.

If you need a business consultant to guide your online venture in the digital marketing and growth space, feel free to reach out.

NEED SOME HELP? Contact Us Here and schedule your time.

owned paid earned media chaosmap

Use This 1 Weird Tip And You Will Earn BIG Business The Old Fashioned Way

What is the golden egg of marketing strategy to get more quality and targeted leads, happy customers and growth to your business these days?

What is that ONE THING that you could apply to your business today, and see (virtually guaranteed) results as early as this week?

I know this is a HUGE (and common), possibly complex — question asked online.

We’ll need to break this down, so you can see the options that lay before you.

But first…

Everybody is out there trying the latest trick, tool or gimmick it seems (periscope, anyone?), and there are more failures than successes, that’s for sure. It’s noisy online, and getting worse by the minute…

What do you do?

Simple. Get the key and unlock the secret to the NEW GAME.

You must understand the distinctions between Paid, Owned, Or Earned Media To Strengthen Your Business Online.

Don’t take this lightly.

One of the frequent questions I see posted on the Internet and in blogs and business forums is a CEO or business owner asking for a growth strategies, and what to do. They may ask about where paid, owned, and earned media can be used, but don’t fully understand what it is.

Many website owners and marketing teams simply get online and begin to churn out the content without any understanding of these three essential elements for digital marketing success.

Of course, you could go your entire digital career and never find out the answer to this question and probably be no worse for wear.

(Ed.Note: Read this post fully. At the top, I promised 1 THING, not three. But, you’ll see how understanding the trifecta relationship will allow you to zoom in on the “one”…)

As a digital marketer, it is your responsibility to understand the various aspects of marketing and this trio of media needs to be understood and tamed.

Each one of these media types is its own animal and it needs to be treated as such. With that, I will try to stop with the animal analogies.

As with any problem we do not completely understand, let’s start at the beginning by defining these three media types.

What Is Paid Media?

Perhaps one of the easiest to understand.

This includes all of the advertising that comes directly from the $$$ in your pocket.

Actually a better representation would be the thousands that are withdrawn from your corporate card(s) on a monthly basis, in exchange for clicks or impressions (Example: ads or banners displayed).

Regardless if you place an ad on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google search (Adwords), Display networks, or even a newspaper ad, it is considered paid media.

This is basically the process of bringing a stranger to your website or store and introducing them to what you have to offer.

The goal is to generate immediate, targeted incoming traffic, and to begin testing to quickly get a positive return on every dollar or cost metric invested. Example: If you pay 1.00 a click and get 2.00 back, you’ll do that day in and day out. Powerful. Fast.

What Is Owned Media?

This form of media is anything that is officially owned or operated by you. This would include your website, Facebook fan page, blogs, or even a retail shop.

Many believe that owned media is the strongest element of the trio.

They argue that it is the strength of this property that will take an individual from a paid media outlet to becoming a full-fledged customer.

We will dive further into this conundrum later in this post and expose what is actually the most important aspect of this chain.

What Is Earned Media?

Earned media is the reward you receive for publishing incredible content.

Earned media includes retweets, shares of your Facebook post, and comments on your blog. You are “earning” the love.

Basically, anything that you did not go out and physically set out and do yourself.

Ready For A Test?

Here is a trick question for you. You have posted a video on Youtube and have been using paid advertising to drive traffic to it. Your video begins to pick up momentum and starts to get shared and commented on.

Is this video considered paid or earned media? I’ll give you a minute to mull over your answer.

In this case, the video would be considered an earned media.

While you are driving paid traffic to the video, you are not paying for the like or comment. That just becomes a bonus from producing high-quality content.

There you have it, the three primary forms of media.

More than likely you are already engaging in two to three of them. If not, you should be, you know what they say about putting all your eggs in one basket, right? Google will come along and step on them. OK, they may not say that, but they should!

What is the “ONE” TIP?

Out of those three media types, which would you believe to be the most important?

If you answered paid media, you would be absolutely correct. However, out of the three, it is used the least, at least in a startup phase.

Many marketers shy away from paid media as they are afraid they will lose their shirt in ad costs. However, it is becoming a reality that this is the model you need to focus on for 2016. You re-invest into the paid campaigns as you turn profits. Plus, you can offer something for sale on the “thank you” page that immediately covers the cost of ad spend!

What most marketers do not understand is that paid marketing via social media and search is actually quite effective.

Paid media is not only cost effective it is quite simple to get started with. Within the day or week, you could have a steady stream of new visitors coming to your site on your own budget and terms.  Provide a fast loading landing page, a strong offer and test for conversions. Then, leverage this incredibly valuable marketing intelligence to push over to your SEO and related marketing campaigns.

Paid media allows you to direct your traffic where you want them to go, with a little planning and strategy of course! You can turn it on and off quickly.

Start by promoting a high-quality piece of content on Facebook, for example (blog or direct response offer). The user clicks thru and reads your content. Bang! You have them on your site, you have to direct their next move. Without a question, send them to an opt-in page and collect their information.

Make sure to retarget your visitors (Facebook pixel), and build your audience profile over time.

Consider expanding via Facebook Lookalike and Google’s remarketing programs. Research tools and systems for broader online/offline look-a-like modeling frameworks too.

Why Paid?

Capture emails from your paid traffic, and start nurturing the relationship via email marketing. Having that email means when the next big change comes you are already prepared and will not have to go chasing a new audience down.

Unlike earned and owned media you are in absolute control.

While you may own media, you can not drive traffic to it other than by search engine optimization techniques and external profiles (links) management.

Paid media lets you turn on the flow of traffic whenever you need to. There are so many marketers struggling for that little trickle of traffic, and here it is.

Once you master how to promote your posts, content, offers, products and services — and place cost effective ads, there is no better feeling of control over your properties.

With paid media you have absolute control through the use of tracking with your favorite analytics and tracking program. You can even get keyword data in your analytics.

Of course, you will not be able to promote every piece of content you place on social media unless you have a massive budget in hand. You will be able to promote select pieces of content that are going to work better for you. These posts help to increase brand awareness, loyalty, and eventually turn to earned media. This has to be tested and fit into your monthly spend.

The most important part of this equation is to have a strong strategy in place and plan everything. There is no perfect strategy I can give you to master this process. But, run your analytics and watch for KPIs (key performance indicators) as you determine the best results.

It is also important to know that this media trio does not always work in perfect sync.

In a perfect world you would promote a post, the visitors click onto a property you own and reads your content, they share with their friends and leave a comment for you.

That is a moment of zen in this strategy. But, it will not always work like that. Continue testing, testing, testing – and don’t give up. Hire a digital marketing consultant to help you.

This brief overview should have at least helped you understand the basics of paid, owned, and earned media types.

You should now be able to create a strategy based on this media that will help you meet you business goals.

Now: Do you agree?

NEED SOME HELP? Contact Us Here and schedule your time.

80 rule to 10x your business for ceo

How To 10x Business Growth With The 80/20 Rule (And Why CEOs Forget This)

A formula that was developed by Vilfredo Pareto and applied to quality issues (80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes) by a man named Joseph Juran, the ’80/20′ rule has garnered a lot of attention in the world of business.

The idea behind it is to showcase how 80% of all success for a business is going to be attributed to 20% of its processes.

If those 20% are improved upon, the business is going to succeed.

Yet, many people tend to focus on the other 80% and divide their attention which leads to minimal gains across the board.

Let’s take a look at why many CEOs tend to forget this and the benefits it has to offer. While we are focusing on processes, it applies to most facets of business and life. In sales, it’s the biggest opportunity you have right now.

And, as fellow author Perry Marshall says:

“80/20 is true of almost anything you can measure in a business”:

  • Sources of incoming phone calls
  • Effectiveness of sales people
  • Sales to customers
  • Physical location of customers
  • Popularity of products
  • Types of product defects
  • Problem employees
  • Customer service problems
  • Sources of conflict
  • Shoplifters
  • Activity patterns in a 24-hour day, or a week or month
  • Performance of distributors, affiliates, and channel partners
  • Sources of web traffic
  • Advertising waste
  • Advertising effectiveness
  • Productivity of web pages
  • Reasons customers buy

CEOs Wish To Focus On Everything

A person who wishes to demonstrate their ability as a professional and someone who works tirelessly will target everything. This is how they have been raised and they will assume it is the best way forward. Indeed, working hard is critical, but where the effort is being focused is essential to.

Many CEOs tend to spread themselves out too thin and that is when the business is negatively impacted.

The 80/20 rule pushes past such concerns by letting a person work hard on 20% of the most important processes a business has built in.

Real Life Example

Okay, so the principle is being assessed here, but what is a real life example of this being put into action?

Let’s take a look at some of the world’s biggest businesses. When you start to break down their client base, you will notice the majority of their sales are coming from the same people or companies.

So, in essence, 80% of their sales are coming from a select 20% in their client base.

Yet, they will continue to push forward and target new clients.

Why not optimize processes and continue to reduce expenses by focusing in on those loyal customers instead?

By bettering their experience, running surveys and tailoring products and services to them, those 20% will spend even more and lead to the business pushing forward. This is why many businesses sink themselves early on.

They simply are not focused enough on those who are loyal to the brand and company.

How To Double Or Even 10x Business Growth

Let’s move onto the heart of this topic.

Let’s assume one begins to understand the viability of this principle and what it brings to the table.

What should a business owner be aiming to do in order to double their growth in the coming year?

How will this principle be applied in order to garner success?

It all begins with a checklist.

You have to understand all aspects of the business and how the processes work. You can only make tweaks if you are aware of how the business is working and how the products and/or services are being delivered to the customer.

If this is not being focused on, the principle is not going to work as neatly.

Sit down and focus on putting together a meaningful checklist of what the principle entails and how it syncs with your business.

Start Breaking Things Down

Take a look at the complaints, sales, staff, and products. Where does the 20% rule apply?

Here are a few additional examples that can help in breaking things down:

* 80% of all complaints will come from 20% of the client base
* 80% of all growth will come from 20% of time put in by employees
* 80% of all sales are being made by 20% of the staff

Alright, so there are a few points one can look at immediately. Let’s pick one out of those three.

The principle that will be further analyzed here would be “80% of all sales are being made by 20% of the staff”. So, this has been determined now and your business seems to only be doing well because of a certain selection of staff members.

There are a few things you can do from this point:

1) You can increase the role those 20% have to play in the sales process
2) Have those 20% train the rest of the staff
3) Further, incentivize those who are succeeding already
4) Fire those who are not in the 20% and bring in those who do fit the system being developed

These are just some of the steps that can be taken because of the 80/20 rule. You can slowly start to see how everything becomes easier to optimize for the business.

The expenses start to go down and the business is able to concentrate on what works rather than trying to find balance.

This was just one example and there are so many different ways where this principle can be applied with great success.

Those who do will notice massive results in a short period of time. It simply works for those who want to make sure their business is on the up.

Common Mistake: To Spread Out

Let’s assume a business is earning $1 million every year. It seems to be doing well and they want to expand now.

Does the expansion mean they are going to hire more people and market even more? No, sometimes expansion can be expanding in the same market and simply cutting out the excess.

By removing unnecessary roles in the company, putting more money in marketing campaigns that work, and taking out poor products and/or services, the business is able to expand without spreading out.

Almost all businesses who do this start to report success.

A company that is making $1 million right now can end up making $10 million with such changes.

Yes, it is truly possible and has been done on a regular basis around the world.

This is a fantastic principle and one that all businesses owners around the world cannot ignore any longer. The case studies are out there for one and all to see. It works like a charm and those who are ignoring it are going to miss out big time and that is not a good position to be in.

Competitors are always improving their methods too, you should be looking to get out in front of this as soon as possible.

How can you improve your bottom line, by taking one action on this principle today?

NEED SOME HELP? Contact Us Here and schedule your time.

bold marketing steps

Surprise Them with Bold Marketing Steps

If you’re preparing to launch a home-based business or already have one, you need to think about how you can stand out from the competition with your marketing.

Hopefully, you have hired a designer to develop a nice website and a content expert to get good, original, and relevant content on your website.

Now you need to figure out how to stand out from the millions of accounts on these sites and reach your targeted customers.

STRATEGY #1: An Element of Surprise Can Help You Get Noticed

Distinguish yourself by doing something unexpected to rouse people to take a second look. There are a lot of businesses fighting for recognition and it takes a bold step to get noticed. Guerrilla marketers thrive on the reaction, whether good and bad.

Guerrilla marketing tends to lean toward shock value, but there are examples where sheer creativity wins the day and no one is offended. A bus stop bench painted very realistically to look like a life-size Kit-Kat bar featured by Creative Guerrilla Marketing is one example.

Think of images that reflect your business, but in an unusual way.

They can be seen anywhere — down the street, in your living room, from your car. Get in the habit of taking your camera with you everywhere you go, advises Sarah Evans, who owns a successful PR and new media consulting firm, in a recent Vocus webinar.

If photography isn’t your thing, use deposit photos from professional photographers and artists, often at surprisingly low prices.

Content on Google Images is not necessarily free for others to use and artists are starting to take legal action against those who use their work without permission.

Evans also suggests going old-school and running an occasional postcard campaign targeting new and potential clients. Fresh, engaging images and content can work in an older medium like this. Think about how people still put pictures up on their refrigerators and cubicle walls.

STRATEGY #2: Video is the Way to Go

Speaking of video, online video ads have the highest click-through rate of all online advertising, according to Business Insider.

They are more effective than buying banners, hiring bloggers, and paying for link-building.

Post a video on a site like Vimeo, Vine, or YouTube that ends with a call to action, such as a quick form and a link to your site.

If you’re stumped for ideas, practice taking videos of your (or your friends’) pets.

Animals remain wildly popular in viral advertising, notes The Viral Video Blog. Animals won’t complain or get bored. Put a chess set or other recognizable game on the floor where pets may be intrigued for a few moments, sniff it out, and maybe push around the pieces.

Start filming and you might capture a few cute seconds to put out in the social media world, courtesy your business.

the cloud and growing your business

3 Ways To Leverage The Cloud And Grow Your Business

Cloud computing was introduced in the 1960s, but it didn’t gain popularity until the late ’90s and early 2000s dot-com era when it was widely adopted by chief information officers. In today’s digital age, online cloud storage that can protect and securely back up documents isn’t just for large corporations anymore — it is a must for businesses of all sizes.

Other offerings such as syncing and collaboration can benefit your business too.

If you’re skeptical of moving your growing business to the cloud, consider this: According to ESNA, 82 percent of companies that use cloud services reported saving money, and 80 percent of cloud adopters reported improvements within six months of moving a business to the cloud.

Additionally, 87 percent of cloud users say they would recommend cloud computing to their peers and colleagues.

#1. Scaling — Growing and Shrinking

According to an AMI-Partners study backed by Microsoft, small businesses are losing $24 billion in productivity annually due to non-technical employees having to help manage the business’s IT program. Gianpaolo Carraro, Microsoft Australia’s SMB director, recommends that small businesses should scale down and embrace cloud technology to combat ineffective IT management.

Cutting costs during hard financial times or a slow economy can directly impact your business. If you’re thinking about scaling down, look to the cloud. Many companies trim down costs by cutting IT budgets and moving to online services in the cloud that don’t require expensive server hardware, backup systems, cooling systems or utility costs like traditional IT infrastructure.

If your business is experiencing growth, upgrade your cloud service to accommodate more users usage future technology

With the cloud, your costs increase as your business grows, and you only pay for what you use. This makes the switch to the cloud a savvy business decision.

#2. Collaboration

As your business grows, you may have more employees in different locations. If you’ve experienced hiccups with your current means of collaboration, such as back and forth emails, cloud computing is a nice fix.

Cloud computing can bring your on-site employees and remote employees together with seamless, interactive collaboration among all team members no matter their location.

#3. 24×7 Access

Accessing the cloud is also convenient. Like many small business owners, you may find yourself always on the go.

Attending morning meetings and gathering with clients in the afternoon can make for a hectic day, especially if you’re shuffling through documents and scrolling through hundreds of emails to find what you’re looking for.

Cloud services can be accessed anywhere, anytime, which can make your on-the-go lifestyle a little bit easier and more organized.

You’ll never have to worry about misplacing an important document, because all of your files will be securely backed up in the cloud. Also, you and your employees can access files and documents that are stored in the cloud on any device with Internet capability.

Cloud storage is becoming standard for document storing and file sharing among growing businesses. Small growing businesses can benefit greatly by using cloud storage systems for reasons including ease of use, collaboration and scalability.