Archive for: June, 2023

E-Mini Trading: What Is the Big Deal With Order Flow and Market Internals?

Jun 27 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

I vividly recall retiring from The Street/CME with an early buyout and found myself wondering what I was going to do for the rest of my life. I had basically spent my entire life trading stock/bond/futures (wherever I was needed) and wasn’t sure I wanted to continue down that path. Even more disturbing was my unfamiliarity with retail trading. I’d heard e-mini trading was gaining some traction and thought scalping with smaller contract sizes could be an interesting and profitable career choice. Besides, it wasn’t like I knew how to do anything else.

After due thought, I signed up for a demo and was shocked. I thought the trading oscillators and indicators had a distinct Fred Flintstone quality. All the indicators available for use were J. Wells Wilder-style lagging indicators; simple and exponential moving averages, stochastic, MACD, RSI, ADX and a host of trading systems that went against everything I was taught at the institutional level; gone were my Tier 2 quotes, real time volume domes and real time proprietary software of the firm.

I suppose there are traders who make a great living using the lagging style trading model, but I have always had a problem with “showing up late to the party” when taking a trade. If this style of trading is profitable for you, I tip my hat. On the other hand, most traders I have observed trading with lagging indicators have developed a deep understanding of the market and sense movement intuitively.

Most of the lagging indicators are anywhere from.5 bar late to up to three bars late in getting you into a trade. In my mind, it is a quantum leap to assume that directional movement for two bars will translate into a productive trade in the same direction. With the level of randomness in the market and an absolute army of co-located computers (for High Frequency Trading) with which to do battle, I felt a little outgunned by trading the same machinery I had operated for most of my life. I was on the other side of the fence now, so to speak.

I muddled through several years of trying to make these laggards into a productive system, with some good success, but not the kind of success I enjoyed while I was a professional trader. I needed to know what was going on at the point of auction and size and scope of resting orders above and below the auction point on the DOM.

The last two years have produced some amazing real time order flow and tape reading programs. Jigsaw Trading has a wonderful suite of trading products reminiscent of the prop house trading programs where I got my start. (I want to note that I have no financial interest or agreements for compensation with the two companies I am going to discuss, I just like their style) Carl Weiss at Sceeto is my absolute favorite and the one I use in my trading room and personal trading. This program allows me to see the actual order flow, alerts me to periods of High Frequency Trading, reads tape and has a complementary set of indicators to further increase your trading accuracy.

I highly recommend investing in real time software, you will be amazed, once you learn the nuances of this style of trading, at the accuracy you can achieve. I suppose there is a small delay in order flow because of varying speeds of the data feed you may be using, but that is the only bottleneck in this style of trading. Carl has even added a new suite to augment Sceeto that performs wavelet analysis.

Though I prefer one of these real time programs over the other, they are both highly effective, relative to the slow oscillator models, than any of the retail trading products I have seen. While the real time software approaches the type of set up you might find a professional trader utilizes, it gives the retail trader a toolbox that provides useful signals far earlier than have ever been available. They have made this trader feel like a pro again, as oppose to take oscillator signals and hoping the market keeps going in the direction of your trade.

In summary, I have described some of the newer tools available to traders who may want to experiment with a more professional set of e-mini trading tools. Further, I have attempted to contrast the lagging style model to the emerging real time model of trading. Best of luck in your trades!

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Midsized Company Content Marketing – What Should Your Message Be?

Jun 27 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

Content marketing discussions among B2B, B2C and nonprofit marketers continue to take center stage. What tactics to use? What should the message be? And, does content marketing really work?

Some light has been shed on this by two recent studies conducted in 2012 and 2013 by the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs. The overwhelming majority of B2B marketers reported that in both years they employed content marketing and, further, that they used a wide range of different content marketing tactics:

Social media (other than blogs) was used by 87% of marketers;
Articles on their websites and Enewsletters were each were used by eight out of ten;
In-person events and Blogs were used by three-quarters of marketers;
Case studies, Videos and Articles on other websites were used by seven out of ten marketers;
White papers were used by six out of ten, while about half used Webinars/webcasts;
And, sixteen other tactics were employed by 10 to 44 percent of marketers.
Given the wide variety of tactics employed, it is not surprising that these marketers also reported using content marketing to achieve a number of different goals, chief among them – increasing brand awareness, customer acquisition, lead generation, customer retention and thought leadership.

So, while these studies confirm the popularity of content marketing (as do similar studies among B2C marketers), across many platforms and with a number of different goals, the key question still remains – what messages should you communicate through all of these tactics?

Understand Your Prospects And Customers With Market Research
With all of these opportunities to engage your customers and prospects, it strikes me that it would be prudent to fully understand their wants and needs in buying a product or service, as well as how these wants and needs are met by your brand and competitive brands.

Some marketers believe they understand their customers and hope they understand their prospects. But in today’s cluttered world of information, facts trump opinion. Without the right message, all of your efforts in content marketing may be perceived as just noise – and sometimes a lot of noise – by your target audience. Not a very efficient way to spend your money or resources.

Therefore, before you spend your limited time and marketing communications dollars, wouldn’t it be a lot smarter to learn directly from your audiences what they consider to be the most important to them in brand selection? Ask them what is most important to them – quality, reputation, price, distribution, delivery terms, manufacturing standards, reliability, eco-friendly, healthfulness, etc. Once you know this, and how these attributes are related to your brand and to competitive brands, you’ll be able to align your strengths to competitive weakness to meet you buyers’ needs.

In addition, this knowledge will also provide your employees with meaningful insights that will impact their relationships and dialogue with customers or prospects. And, as a bonus, the research you conduct for your content marketing efforts may lead to improved marketing and marketing communications across all of your programs.

Marketing Communications Consultants Or Internal Staff
Having the skills and time to develop your messaging, regardless of content tactic, is another issue to consider. Whether you use internal staff or external professionals, this type of research provides meaningful and specific direction on what to communicate to improve your ROI. Then the question becomes how to communicate this message.

Skilled professionals will not present the research findings as a blatant “brand speak” message. Rather, the objective should be to establish trust with your audiences through communications that meets their needs without a “hard sell”.

So, as you continue your discussions of when, where and how to employ content marketing, I hope you will agree that meaningful messaging, coupled with the right content marketing tactic – be it as simple as a post on Facebook or as complex as an in-person event – can improve your reputation with existing customers and prospects.

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Importance of Hiring Email Marketing Services for Increasing Sales Conversions

Jun 27 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

Email Marketing is one of the oldest online marketing methods, but even today, it is still as effective as it was, if not more. This method has been helping businesses in keeping touch with their existing clients, and also for reaching out to the new customers. Hence, it is important to integrate email marketing with your other business marketing campaigns.

In this post, we will look into the various intricacies that are involved in email marketing, and also why is it important to hire a professional email marketing company to grow your business online.

Email Marketing – The Best Communication Bridge

Despite the strong emergence of social media, e-mail marketing still holds great importance and relevance for online businesses. It offers you a best platform to communicate with your customers, and let them feel that they are special for your business.

It’s not just about answering the customer queries and orders, but it’s a lot more than that. However, you’ll need to seek professional email marketing services to take your business next levels, and boost your profits.

It helps you -

Convert anonymous visitors into email subscribers
Connect, share, and build relationship with customers/subscribers
Focus on your targeted market
Follow-up your customers in real time
Get high chances of increasing profits with more sales conversions
Why you should hire a professional email marketing company?

Save Your Time

When it comes to marketing a business, then time is always of the essence. Marketing professionals will always make attempts to reach out to more people in lesser time. Moreover, connecting with people via emails is even more complex.

It would involve tasks like creating a professional e-mail template, headers, content, tags, etc, which consumes a lot of time if you decide to do it manually. The professionals have access to different helpful tools that help them create stunning email templates.

They hire professional copywriters and content developers to make attractive newsletters that will surely hold the attention of your prospective customers. Also, they will use software like the auto responders to streamline the entire process of sending emails, and doing the follow-ups. Hence, outsourcing this tedious work can save you a lot of time.

Affordability

The world is your playground, and you can reach out to thousands of people, no matter which corner of the world they live in. However, it is very important to send your marketing content to your targeted audience.

If you have a business which only caters to the certain locality, then your campaign should specifically focus on connecting with people from that specific place, and not from around the world. A professional marketing company will help you in getting the opt-in leads, based on the type of business you run, and the demography of the people you wish to target or cater to.

You can hire email advertising services without having to spend too much, because their services come in affordable plans and suitable packages. Sending a business email will cost very little, and thousands of marketing emails can be dispatched with a single click.

Flexibility

With email marketing, you cannot make the mistake of sending general or common emails to all your subscribers. The successful email marketing campaign is the one that offers flexible options to the clients. You can know about the interests of your customers, their needs, web navigation patterns, and then send them the emails that are closely relevant to their specific interests.

Engage Your Potential Customers

You cannot expect your website visitors to make purchases on their very first visit, unless you are very lucky. In order to engage effectively with your customers, you will need to keep in touch with them, and more importantly, make them feel special.

It’s often challenging to get someone’s attention, and if you do it well, you will have won half the battle successfully. Now, what you have to do is to convert those interests of your clients into the actual sales. Professional marketers will know how exactly to direct your potential customers to right pages, which will then lead to sales conversions.

Increase your ROI (Return on Investment)

Email Marketing if done systematically will yield a lot of profits for your business. By hiring a professional email marketing services, you can surely expect increased ROI, provided that you choose the right company. What you can do is try out their services on a low budget campaign, and then see how it pans out.

Developing Trust

Building good relationships with customers was never been easier before. It takes too much time for companies to know each consumer, their opinions, needs, likes and dislikes and build a trustworthy brand. Keep in mind that a happy client adds value to your brand.

A professional email marketing company will help you create brand loyalty among your subscribers in fairly less time. They will send personalized emails to your prospective customers, which will in turn help you represent your business in a better way.

Drive Sales

Email marketing companies primarily focus on promoting your business and driving your sales. With direct email marketing practices, they promote your business, share special offers, and information about upcoming events. They will first understand your business goals to effectively decide a customized marketing campaign accordingly.

Boost Your Social Interaction with Professional Email Marketing Services

In the last few years, social media networking has grown quite considerably. Today, everyone knows the power and importance of social networking media in online marketing. A good email marketing company will integrate e-mail marketing campaigns with social media marketing. It ultimately boosts the social interaction of your business, and improves your brand popularity.

You can connect with your subscribers and allow them to interact with you on social networks, whether on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn or Twitter. Sharing email campaigns on social networks will help in increasing the credibility of your businesses. If your customers/subscribers find your business to be trustworthy, they’ll most likely pass on the info to their friends and colleagues.

Opt for an e-mail marketing company that provides social integration service along with email-marketing campaigns. Nowadays, social media is playing a crucial role in online marketing, without which you’re certainly missing out on several opportunities.

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4 Ways to Overcome Leadership Challenges and Build a Strong Direct Sales Team

Jun 27 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

As a direct sales company owner, team leader or direct sales manager, there are many leadership challenges you will need to overcome to build a successful direct sales business. While these include topics such as recruiting, training, marketing, recognizing your team, prospecting, and a variety of others; this article will provide strategies to assist you with successful direct sales team building.

# 1 – Leadership Challenge: Analyze Team Behavior Traits.

The results you gain through adequately supporting your team (advice, training, and goal setting) highly depends upon the individual’s behavioral style. Does your team member prefer sales strategies to be broken down systematically? Alternatively, would your team member prefer to create steps herself to accomplish a team goal? Does she thrive by jumping in and figuring it out as she goes? Is she bogged down by details? Does your team as a whole lean into the strengths of each member? These are the questions to ask to ensure that your support strategy compliments your support recipients.

# 2 – Leadership Challenge: Prevent Your Team from Running Hot and Cold.

Some team members expend all their energy in bursts, followed by none of their energy in bursts. This is a common and vicious cycle, as the energy crash can negatively affect sales bookings, home parties scheduled, and recruiting results, and ultimately lead to personal discouragement. As a team leader, you can better support your team by creating a higher level of consistency in your team’s daily, weekly and monthly direct sales routines. Coach your team to be self paced and to recognize and create consistency.

# 3 – Leadership Challenge: Keep the Ball Moving Forward.

After holiday home parties and New Year’s resolutions begin to fade, your recruits may do the same. Team motivation is one of the most important leadership challenges that each direct sales leader will address. As a strong leader, we must be proactive to keep our team engaged and to encourage them to not only meet, but to also exceed their sales goals. Remember to frequently remind your team to check in with their “WHY.” Why are they doing this? Why are they in this business? Why are they connected to their team? Lastly, keep the business fresh and fun. Humor reduces stress.

# 4 – Leadership Challenge: Bingo! Running Effective Team Meetings and Retreats.

Do your team members often leave your team meetings or team conference calls motivated only to become quickly deflated later? Does your direct sales team go home sounding charged up, but post-meeting produce little to no change? What went wrong?

Ultimately, this is a case of goals being too distant and not concrete. The actions were not defined and specific. The problem with a lack of concrete ideas is that it leads to disengaged team members.

Alternatively, is it also possible that you are saying the same message over and over and having a numbing effect?

The team might begin to play what I call, “meeting bingo” based upon what the leader says repeatedly at every meeting. This is not very different from the drinking games played at political speeches, where audience members take a shot or sip when a buzzword is repeated. Similarly, what we get with the repetition of empty buzzwords untethered to a measurable action step is a short-term shot of feeling good and nothing but a hangover the next day!

There is a big difference between saying “increase home party bookings”, “increase sales to meet your monthly goals or to advance in the compensation plan”, and a statement with measurable action and meaning such as, “meet a quarterly goal of 10 new home party bookings and become a Team Leader by April 30th.” As you recite motivating objectives for each meeting, be sure to include a monthly or weekly plan to break down that goal into manageable bites.

By proactively preparing for and overcoming these direct sales leadership challenges. You are on your way to building a successful sales team and to growing your home party business!

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Introduction to Marketing – Part Seven: Pricing Strategy

Jun 27 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

Part Seven: Pricing Strategy

Pricing and customer value are closely linked. Basically stated, the value a customer places in a product and brand is indicated by how much they are willing to give up, usually in the form of money. The price is the monetary value set by an organisation at a level they believe is worthy of their offering. However, if a customer wants a product, but the price is too high, their value analysis of the trade is lower than the price set and they won’t make a trade.

This ‘trade’ for a customer, which is the price set from the perspective of the organisation, comes in many forms, such as rent, tuition, fees, fares, tolls, premiums, commissions, incentives and even bribes. Price is the only element of the marketing mix that produces an income for an organisation in the form of revenue. It is the one part of the marketing mix that is the easiest to adjust quickly, which is as to why organisations often opt to that element to spur a customer response to their offering, over changing the product itself, its promotion, people or distribution methods.

Bribes may be illegal in certain countries and acceptable in others, however in the illegal countries, it may be classed as other things, such as perks and added bonuses.

Who Sets the Price?

It is a typical accounting argument, where an accounting department of an organisation may believe it is their responsibility given that pricing involves monetary terms. This would be all well-and-good if the price was a simple recuperation of costs for the organisation. However, it is not that simple: pricing of a product speaks volumes to consumers.

This is why the task of setting price is with the marketing department: as the consumer receives a whole lot of messaging from the setting of the price alone. It signals to a customer what positioning and image the brand and product has. If it is expensive, often consumers will use it as a surrogate indicator for a judge of quality. This is most common in the wine industry, where higher priced wines are often thought of immediately as better in consumption.

Therefore, marketing manage the price setting tasks as it indicates much more than simply cost plus profit. It isn’t a simple equation- it takes the department familiar with communicating with the target audience, as price is just another communication stream.

Price and Demand

As can be expected, the price of a particular product directly impacts on the amount of demand it receives from customers. The actual relationship is known as the economic term of price elasticity. Whilst in reality, nothing works as simply as economic models suggest, in general, a product with a high price elasticity of demand means that a change in price results in a large, corresponding change in quantity purchased. Luxury and nonessential products tend to be within this category, as a large price increase will greatly drop demand, and visa-versa.

A low price elasticity of demand means that a change in price will not greatly affect demand shifts- this is known as inelastic demand. Less substitutable products and essentials full into these categories as, within reason, when price shifts, consumers still require them.

A more realistic approach to price and demand prediction is more toward the idea of pricing points. For example, if the price is high and quantity is purchased for a luxury brand, and the price is suddenly dropped, initially, the demand would increase as consumers believe there is more value. However dropping the price further may then decrease demand, as consumers start to feel that the luxury brand is losing its exclusivity. This makes demand fall.

All of these types of factors must be taken into account by the marketing department when setting price of their products.

The Pricing Phenomena

As much as economic theory attempts to assume that consumers are rational, they just aren’t when it comes to purchasing. The perceptions of value and price given by an individual consumer is so unpredictable that it takes the function of marketing research to really delve into why consumers think and act as they do.

Take, for example, bridal products. Large organisations over charge for pretty much everything to do with ‘the big day’, however the consumer is more than willing to pay as it’s more of an emotional purchase rather than a rational, ‘utility maximisation’ purchase. A bride doesn’t want a cheaper product, even if it is the same as an expensive version, as they value feeling expensive and exclusive and therefore justify the high prices.

Pricing as an Information Cue

As discussed before, price can be used as a surrogate indicator of quality, even if it’s not true. In the customers mind, higher price raises expectations as the amount they have to trade for it is high. There are two associated pricing techniques relevant to pricing as a communicative device:

(1) Price Skimming- this refers to setting the price very high, thus skimming the very top of the market’s customers. This creates an aura of prestige and/or technologically advanced status and is a good way to recuperate research and development costs, control initial demand and supply and generate high profit. However the product must justify this image if this technique is used.

(2) Price Penetration- this is when a product’s price is set very low to attract high quantities of sales and obtain large uptake in the market before a competitor.

(3) Yield Pricing- setting the pricing to manage exact quantities of purchasing. For example, if stock is perishable, the price may be discounted to increase numbers and then when supply is short, the price rises to manage this.

(4) Volume Pricing- setting a price to ensure high sale/bulk volume purchasing over profit per unit.

(5) Loss Leader- Pricing at a loss per unit to encourage impulse, related purchasing of other products in the same offering.

Pricing strategy all depends on the organisation’s justification and rationalisation of all aspects of their marketing strategy.

Pricing and the Psychology Of Consumption

There is a directly psychological relation between pricing/cost and the consumption rationale of a consumer. Most organisations do not draw attention to the price as it represents a cost to the consumer, and they would much rather the consumer benefit from the product’s value rather than them dwelling on how much they paid for it. This makes sense. This is why some organisations offer upfront bulk payments, season passes, bundling and so on.

However, as mentioned previously, consumers aren’t always rationale and sometimes, the constant reminder of cost is motivating for them. Basically, a consumer who doesn’t utilise their purchase will actively make a decision to not rebuy it. This means that charging upfront could make the consumer forget about the product (e.g.: a gym membership), and once they forget, they will not justify a repurchase, however smaller costs more regularly are more manageable in a consumer’s mind and the constant reminder stimulates motivation for consumption, and therefore repeat purchase.

It all depends on the organisation’s product offering and pricing strategy as to what approach they take.

Internal Pricing Factors: Objective Based

There are different types of objectives of consideration when setting a price, aiming to achieve a particular goal.

(1) Financial
These are strictly about monetary goals, such as setting price to achieve a gross profit margin of 23%, or Return On Investment (ROI) by 12% this year.

(2) Marketing
These revolve around market and consumer focused goals, such as increasing market share, gaining more consumer awareness or increasing brand loyalty.

(3) Societal
Pricing is set by the organisation based on managing a societal rationale. For example, adding into the cost a donation to charity, or carbon offsetting.

Internal Pricing Factors: The Marketing Mix

Does the marketing plan and current marketing mix support the proposed price? In other words, is the price set consistent with the expectations a consumer would have given the rest of the product’s attributes. The price must be reasonably consistent and in context with the product’s design, process, distribution, people, reputation, brand and positioning.

Internal Pricing Factors: The Market Classification

Pricing is also very subject to the type of market the product exists in. In a monopoly, there is only one offering organisation, so excusing government regulation, pricing can be set at whatever they wish. In an oligopoly, where there are a two to five large main players in the market, the strategy tends to be a lead and follow pricing strategy, basing price off the movements of the main competitors.

In a perfect competition market, where the product is an identical commodity, the price solely depends on the supply and demand of the time.

In a monopolistic competitive market, which is the typically normal market where many organisations are within a market offering substitutable yet differentiated products, pricing is set based more on each organisation’s marketing plan.

Internal Pricing Factors: Organisational Considerations

Naturally, the management within an organisation decides who best to set the prices of all the elements within the product offering- this is known as the pricing process. Typically, in smaller organisations, price is usually set by management but in larger organisations, it is set by product managers within the marketing team. The most important part is that the person or people that set the price must have well informed insights into the customer and their perception of value.

Revisiting the Concept of Customer Value

Remember that customer value is total benefits over the total costs. Costs include a lot of pricing, such as the initial purchase price, maintenance and repair costs, ongoing fees, installation, training, financing and so on.

The benefits of the product, such as performance, features and quality must outweigh all of the prices and costs to be worth the value to the customer.

Approaches to Pricing

There are three main approaches to setting a price.

(1) Cost-Based
Basing the pricing barriers (such as the price floor- the lowest possible price), on how much the product costs to produce. Generally, if fixed costs are quite high, a part of the price is set lower to maximise volume sold. If variable costs are high, price can be set to maximise the per unit margin.

The issue, again, is that this pricing is based on internal measures, rather than on the target market, and could communicate the incorrect message to them. Still, the cost-based approach can be a background consideration.

(2) Competition-Based
As the name suggests, this is basing it on however the competition prices and differentiating a product based on their pricing strategy. However this assumes that the competitor has a good grasp on the target market.

(3) Value-Based
This approach bases costs on what level of value the target market places on the product itself. Then, the organisation can employ a price skimming strategy (pricing at the top value), price penetration (pricing at the lowest value) or somewhere in between. This requires a bit of research to discover what attributes and expectations the customer values the most and pricing it on this.

In reality, there should be a blend of the approaches. The price ceiling (or the price point at which demand becomes zero) should be set at the top, and the price floor (or the price point at which profit becomes zero) should be established first. The Price ceiling represents customer perception of value and the price floor represents the consideration for product cost.

The price is then set in the middle, in between these points, with all factors such as marketing strategy, objectives, competitors and market place factors taken into consideration here to find the ideal price.

The Value Based Approach

Basing pricing strategy on the target market is an obvious choice, given the impact price has in communicating with the target market. Through starting with the customer’s value and working backward, a price can be settled on that will allow an organisation to best maximise the price per segment and manage customer value perceptions.

The Gift Economy

With technology increasing so rapidly, a ‘gift-economy’ also referred to often as a ‘free-love’ economy has emerged. This is where an organisation offers their main product as free and finds another solid revenue stream to gain profit from. Search engines are a good example of this, where the search function is free, but the Google adword service and other advertisements and services are paid for.

The issue with this is the consumers lose the perception of value when products, such as music and news) are available for free, online. This shift in mind-set is a rapid game changer for a lot of organisations as consumers start to question why they are paying for specific products. For example, years ago, customers would purchase a newspaper, because they saw the value as worth the money, however today, when news is so rapidly available online, they can no longer justify paying for it.

Today, organisations are creating business models where the consumer doesn’t pay and then charges associated organisations for their access to these customers, such as YouTube or social media advertising.

This has the risk of becoming so extreme that it may get to a point where organisations will pay or reward the customer to use their product, rather the other way around, just to give them access to the customer to sell this onto other organisations for profit.

However, there is a predicted limit with this as over-exposure to secondary ads and the other revenue-gaining ‘add-ons’ will render them ineffective and these secondary organisations will avoid these business models.

The Freemium

This relates to the new pricing technique known as ‘freemium’. A freemium is when an organisation gives the basic level product to the consumer for free and then charges for the premium use of it. This is very evident in free phone apps on smart phones, where the basic app is free to download and use, however the customer must pay to get the ad-free version or open up all of the service for them to use.

The Bait-and-Hook

A pricing technique where the main product is free or extremely discounted, however then the customer must purchase an expensive associated product to utilise the main product. An example of this is office printers, where the printer is given for free, and the customer has to purchase the paper and print ink off the printer’s organisation.

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5 Tips To Avoid Losing Money On Content Marketing

Jun 27 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

I know one business owner who hired a content marketing agency because he wanted to build his business.

The agency said it would bring in over a dozen inbound leads per month.

After four months of preparation and two months of releasing content, he ended up sacking the agency because it had not brought in a single lead.

Of course, he’d already spent several thousand pounds with them by then.

So how do you avoid this happening to you?

Tip #1: Understand what content marketing is

At its simplest, content marketing is a way of proving you are an authority in your field.

It makes you more credible: people are more likely to choose you before others.

This means giving people advice so that when they decide they need a product like yours, they’ll think of you first and get in touch.

For example, you might sell an IT system that helps companies comply with health and safety legislation.

If so, it makes sense to offer advice on how the latest legislation is likely to affect them, the trends in the industry, and so on.

In the old days, this was simple. You struck up a relationship with someone in your relevant trade press – or the local press – and wrote articles for them.

That’s still an option. But now you can also get your information out via a blog, downloadable reports on your website or an email subscriber list.

And that’s not even mentioning the various social media.

Then there’s the question of how often you need to create content.

This leads to some important questions:

Do you know your market well enough to write about it convincingly? If not, you need to hire someone to do it for you and they will not come cheap. Come to think of it, if you don’t know your market, you won’t survive long anyhow. And come to think of it again, many peoples’ idea of what their market is turns out to be spectacularly incorrect.

Do you have a clear idea of how best to reach your market? Yes you can write a blog, but if your customers prefer to read the trade press then blogging won’t help you. And if nobody reads your blog – often the case – you’re wasting time anyhow.

Do you know how often you need to put information out? Once a quarter? Once a month? Once a week? Once a day? There is no fixed rule. You need a feel for what will interest your customers – otherwise you can end up wasting a lot of time and money putting out useless content. And you need to be constantly thinking what will interest them. Every time you think of something, communicate.
Tip #2: Don’t believe the hype

Unfortunately, content marketing – indeed virtually all marketing today – is based on fallacies.

The biggest fallacy: that customers are fundamentally different today to how they used to be.

Well, after 54 years in marketing I can tell you that’s rubbish.

Customers today are no different to how they were when I started in this industry in the 1950s. All that’s changed is that there are far more media you can use to reach them.

Statistics are bandied about ‘proving’ that people now have fearfully short attention spans, when actually they always did. With advertising in a newspaper (for example) you only had split seconds to grab someone’s attention before they flipped the page.

If you don’t understand people, and realise that people have not fundamentally changed, you will lose money with your marketing. It’s that simple.

But from the idea that people now have the attention spans of goldfish, many agencies will point to studies showing that people don’t like to have their day disrupted by advertising. They find it annoying.

Let me assure you that people have always found bad advertising annoying. This also hasn’t changed.

Marketing people love easy answers. They yearn for a world where one particular approach – the one they specialise in – will solve all problems. And they are good at proving it to you.

If you don’t apply a little logic you can end up losing a lot of money.

An agency may show you that more money is now being spent on marketing to attract inbound leads rather than outbound leads.

They tout this as proof that inbound marketing is more successful.

However, what they won’t do is show you the revenues generated by inbound versus outbound; only how much is being spent.

As you’ll have worked out already, that’s like saying a Mercedes ad campaign is more effective than a Volkswagen one because Mercedes spent five times as much.

There is precious little proof that inbound marketing is more successful at generating leads or sales. And that should be all you care about.

Tip #3: Find out what works – and copy it

There is no doubt that content marketing does work if used correctly. Here are some examples.

Serial entrepreneur Neil Patel runs three blogs. Each one has over 100,000 regular readers and they are the number one source of customers for his various businesses.
Almost all of consulting coach Ian Brodie’s new customers now come to him as inbound leads.
US information publisher Agora runs a number of daily email newsletters to generate new business.
What do these three have in common?

Each uses the same technique as the cornerstone of their content marketing.

When you visit one of Neil Patel’s blogs, for example, you get a pop up offering you a free report in return for your email address.

If you choose to delete the pop up, you get taken to a page with another sign up box asking you to subscribe to his emails. Only once you get past that do you get to read the blog.

Similarly, at the top of Ian Brodie’s homepage is a sign up box offering you a free report in return for your email address.

And as I’ve already indicated, Agora’s content marketing model is based entirely on getting you to sign up for one or more of its email newsletters. It offers at least half a dozen different ones, depending on your interests.

Examples are all around you when you look for them – even from so-called social media experts.

Mari Smith is a renowned Facebook ‘guru’, yet when you go to her homepage what’s the first thing you see? An email sign up box.

It’s the same for Pinterest ‘guru’ Melanie Duncan. Go to her homepage and the first thing she asks you to do is not to find her on Pinterest – it’s to sign up for her regular email updates.

In fact, you have to negotiate three pop up boxes asking you to subscribe before you can get to the homepage itself.

Why do they all do this?

Because getting people to subscribe to your regular updates is a tried and tested method of increasing sales. Subscribers have opted in to receive your news and advice, so they are more likely to read the content.

And of course, for every few emails offering advice, they slip in one selling something. Or they get you to return to their website or go a landing page that tries to sell you something.

Pop up boxes are surely just as annoying as any other form of disruptive marketing.

I’ll bet that if you asked the visitors to these websites whether they found it annoying, they would say yes. And yet they work.

Tip #4: “Don’t forget the marketing in content marketing”

If you look up the Content Marketing Institute, it tells you that content marketing is “the art of communicating with your customers and prospects without selling. Instead of pitching your products and services, you are delivering information that makes your buyers more intelligent.”

The italics are mine. Just think about what they’re saying here for a minute.

That you should be sending out information without actually asking people to buy? Does that really make sense?

From spending millions of my own money – and God alone knows how much of my clients’ – I can tell you it doesn’t.

Trying to sell without selling is just plain stupid.

People are not thinking when they get your stuff. Even if they are intelligent – which many aren’t in the first place.

The entire premise of this kind of content marketing is that people don’t like being sold to. In research they say they prefer articles and white papers and that stuff.

What they think they prefer and what they do have nothing to do with each other.

What works and what people like are two different things.

What they need and what they think they want are two different things.

The quote that forms the heading for this section comes from Neil Patel, who points out that producing content is not enough if you don’t promote it.

Bill Bonner, the founder of Agora, recently explained that, though it may not seem like it, a daily email in which you don’t sell anything is really just part of a bigger strategy to bring home a sale.

As Agora copywriter Glenn Fisher says, “People who like modern terms call this content marketing, but it’s not.

“Content marketing is just a buzz phrase to describe something that’s always existed: it’s just plain old long copy.”

The guys at Agora should know. While there are several estimates around of how much the company makes each year, the most conservative figure is $90 million.

If you try to sell without selling, then guess what?

You won’t sell anything.

Tip #5: Know what your customers need

I can’t stress this enough.

Most of the content marketing I see that fails does so because those producing the content do not know enough about the market they are writing for.

As a result, they get it wrong in two major ways:

They write content that’s too shallow, of the teaching-granny-to-suck-eggs variety. Telling your customers what they already know is not the way to look authoritative.
They write content that doesn’t speak to their customers’ or prospects’ concerns.
You must know what your customers are thinking and worrying about – and write about them. This means you need to do your research. Don’t just read reports on the state of the market, or articles in the trade press.

Speak to your customers directly – or at least some of them. And do so with an open mind. Otherwise your content will never move them to want to act.

If you’ve decided you want to launch your own content out into the market, here’s what you need to do.

Research any agency you consider taking on. You wouldn’t hire someone without checking their references, so do the same if with an agency. Talk to their clients about results – and also what it’s like working with them.

Think about hiring a specialist. Many companies hire trade journalists or copywriters with a specialist niche to write their content, whether in house or freelance. Just bear in mind that real specialists do not come cheap.

If you try to get them cheap, they won’t stay long enough to have an impact. Resist the lure of false economy.

Know your market – and make sure anyone writing for you does too. If you don’t, your content will fall flat. So take the time to research this first. Only if you know the market can you test whether any agency or copywriter knows enough to write good content.

Know what you want to achieve. Many companies jump into content marketing just because everyone else is. Resist this urge. You can do well without content marketing and focus on outbound marketing instead.

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We Are Not Marketing To The Web

Jun 27 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

The medium is the message – but it’s still a message
From ancient history right up until the web came into being all marketing has been directed at people. But now, it seems, that marketing people are directing their focus onto the web as though this medium is doing the buying.

Our first clue is that almost every business home page never even mentions the market they sell to. All of these misguided business home pages are presenting themselves to the web instead of to their respective markets. The web is the medium not our market. We need to channel our marketing through the web, not to the web.

Still, you hear web marketing and web design jargon going on about selling to the web. We may know that they really mean our market on the web, but the misguided focus says something about the lack of awareness and the lack of marketing focus.

We never thought newspapers did the buying, not was television seen as anything more than a medium. Then along comes the spider-web and marketing people stopped knowing what they were doing.

All of a sudden we could sell to the world
Except that it never was true, but that kind of thinking put us into some kind of fairy land and reality was ignored. The reality is that it is not the world we are selling to… it is our web market we want to reach.

Who are they? What do we call them? What do they really want? How do we get their attention?

We failed to ask these questions when we believed we could simply present ourselves to the web medium and that’s all we needed to do. We were led to believe that the web would respond because those anonymous buyers that make up the web would buy our products.

This is why almost every small business marketing on the web isn’t selling enough to support their advertising, let alone make a profit? Why do you think that is? Why isn’t that faceless web buying from us?

Do you think that it may be because our business web site never gave our market a face they would recognize? Hmmm. Does a light come on?

Take a closer look at your own web site
You could go to any business web site, even your own, and read what’s on the home page. Did you see any mention of the target market? Or did you just see paragraphs all about the business behind the web site?

Oh for sure, businesses like to talk about themselves because they think that’s important, and it is, but not right away. And, anyway, that’s what you have an ABOUT page for.

If a small business home page doesn’t begin with a focus on the market it will never break them out of their preoccupation. You can’t call out to your market and not use their name, and you can’t use such a broad name where one-size fits all.

When I was in junior high school I had a substitute teacher briefly for one of my classes. One day I was daydreaming and off in the clouds fixing the world or destroying alien beings… whatever, but I was long gone in my own world – just like your market.

The substitute teacher forgot my name was Edward and she called me Allen. I didn’t respond – she wasn’t talking to me. She spoke louder calling me Allen and I still didn’t respond. Then she moved in closer and with a really loud voice that I couldn’t ignore anymore, regardless of using the wrong name, and I snapped out of my preoccupation.

Of course, everyone in the class got a good laugh out of that, but if she were a salesperson and I was the market there would be no sale. Not even after the market (me) was brought to awareness.

What’s my point?
The point is that marketing to the web means that your web site is not marketing to people at all, it is trying to market to a huge anonymous group made up of every market in the world. This happens when your marketing people do not have a clear focus of the market and your web market is not responding because you are not calling them by name.

Just because every web user is anonymous and we cannot know their individual name until they provide it for us doesn’t mean that we cannot describe a market segment they belong to. And just because every web user controls their own web experience and can cut us off mid-sentence doesn’t mean that we cannot grab their attention by giving them what they simply can’t resist.

To do this we need to stop calling people by the wrong name, or by no name at all. We need to first get their attention by using the name of the marketing segment they belong to. When we don’t have individual names but we can group like minded people into a marketing segment and then provide that group with an accurate descriptive name.

Marketing to the world
Run! Run as fast as you can when a web designer tells you that your web site can “sell to the world.” If you thought for one moment then you would realize that not everyone in the world wants what you have to offer. In fact, not everyone in your city wants what you have to offer.

If your brand dominated the market in your city you would be enormously successful and the next step up to regional sales would be easier. Then state or province wide sales before your business goes national. Global marketing is a long way off for us, and so we are wise to start close to home.

And global marketing is not “selling to the world” either because that is just a pipe dream but global sales are possible – even on a small scale. In fact, as a niche market, international sales is not out of reach.

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Keep It Simple With a Marketing Triangle

Jun 27 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

“Keep your eye on the target and your marketing plan simple and focused”

Keep it Simple with a Marketing Triangle

Let’s face it, you are the busiest you have ever been. You are trying to keep up with all your learning, staying active in the community, marketing and implementing (or keeping up with) technology, and of course making money! There is a lot of “noise” out there and it is easy to get distracted and thrown off course from your main goal of building your business and adding clients.

It is time to simplify things and when it comes to your marketing, it doesn’t have to be difficult. You have heard me say before that marketing is simply telling people what you are doing in your business. It’s that simple. But the problems happen when we get stretched too thin and get off course from our strategic approach or message. We get involved in too many different “shiny sparkly objects” or marketing programs, and become exhausted. We wind up doing nothing!

Here is a simple principle I learned that will help you get your marketing in line, it is called the marketing triangle and it is an easy to remember strategy for building your marketing plan – Market – Message – Media.

MARKET: you need to choose a target market. Wean out the wrong people to get to the right people.

• Is it large enough?

• Is it easy to reach?

• Do they have money to spend?

• Do you have a natural affinity with it?

• Do they need your product or service

• Do you know their pain and how to solve it?

MESSAGE: you need to speak to your market in THEIR language, in a way that they will respond. Talk like they do, get on their level so to speak. RELATE to them. You would need to market differently to a group of senior citizens as opposed to a group of seniors graduating from high school, wouldn’t you?

• Be bold in your message

• Be clear in your information

• Be consistent

• Tell your compelling story with passion

• Be authentic, let your message reflect who YOU are

MEDIA: Don’t limit yourself to online only – there are thousands of possibilities here!

• Diversify your marketing

• The Internet is a media all it’s own

• Consider speaking and hosting workshops

• Direct mail

• What is the best way to reach my target, my list, my prospect?

• How does my target customer preferred to be contacted?

• Create online or print white paper on your industry/market

• Create online or print newsletter to your SOI

• PUSH your content to the social networks in a systemized program

• Consider a blog to share your message and educational posts

BE CREATIVE – DO YOUR RESEARCH

What would catch your attention? How would you pay attention?

MARKET – MESSAGE – MEDIA

To be successful in your business you need to have your target market, your message and your media all line up:

• Pick a plan and stick to it

• Choose a marketing method that is tried and proven that will leverage your content on the web

• Work your plan

• Get rid of fear you might miss out on something and stay focused on the plan you choose – STOP BUYING marketing programs and WORK the method you have!

• Use my TIME-IMAGINATION-BUDGET practice to guide you in building your plan

Times may change but marketing 101 does not change. “Master the marketing basics and your business will grow”. Just like any world-class musician or athlete – they practice, practice, practice AND PRACTICE to bring perfection to their craft. Mastering your marketing through repetition of a proven, strategic plan, will bring you success.

There is a great zen proverb that says it all: “Point your face in the right direction and walk forward”. Simple.

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Three Key Talents Required to Do a Marketing Job

Jun 27 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

Marketing is one of the popular career options for fresh graduates. There are many reasons why many people are drawn into marketing – it offers good career opportunities, job stability and status. And of course, marketing jobs are challenging. Marketing jobs are not monotonous; market trends keep on changing, there is always one or the other technique to learn, case to study, strategy to research and so on, that make people in this field feel satisfied with their job.

But, not everybody can get into marketing jobs. In order to have a career in marketing, along with a passion to pursue marketing, one should have three key talents. To check whether or not you have the three talents required to get into this field, answer the following questions.

1. Can you think creatively or ‘out-of-the box’? or Are you a creative person?
2. Can you gather, organise, understand and draw conclusions from complex data?
3. Can you plan, organize, direct and control team members to get things done properly?

If your answer is ‘Yes’ to at least one – you will probably do well in a marketing career. How? Let us explain. If you answered ‘Yes’ to the first question, you are creative; analytical for second and coordinative for the third – three talents required to get into a marketing job. Though possessing all the three is not mandatory, having at least one of them is critical to do a marketing job.

Let us see why these talents are required in marketing jobs.

1. Talent for Creativity

The Chartered Institute of Marketing defines marketing as “a management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably”. To make it simple, marketing is about identifying consumer demand for a product/service and developing ways to encourage people to purchase more of them to make the company profitable.

So, any marketing specialist should have the ability to think out-of-the box and do things in a fresh, unique, and innovative way and satisfy customer requirements. The candidate should be able to think beyond the traditional modes, not just going with assumptions, to solve unpredictable problems associated with consumerism.

The candidate should understand the commercial realities affecting the organisation and come up with ideas that should respond to the environment in order to make them viable. Creativity is required especially in two areas – graphics and copy writing. Both are critical to send an advertising or promotional message clearly and effectively, whether it is using printed documents or electronic media.

For people with creative talent, marketing offers various career options like illustrators/visualizers, creative directors, web/graphic designers, copy writers, etc. So, if you think you have the talent for creativity, there are always opportunities in marketing waiting for you.

2. Analytical Talent

The next talent that opens doors to marketing career is the ability to think analytically. The candidate should have the ability to look beyond the numbers or data to find out the underlying patterns, trends, and connections. Armed with the data s/he should effectively evaluate a problem by paying attention to detail with perseverance. This needs logic and analysis. The ability to see the big-picture along with logic and analysis is valued highly in marketing.

Analytical ability is critical in marketing jobs as there will be a continuous need to track and analyse changing consumer behaviour, buying patterns, emerging trends, etc., which help in determining what exactly consumers are looking for. The candidate should analyse the information to establish facts and principles to develop new products or modify existing product, design the packaging and develop advertising strategies to make the product stand out among its competitors and to attract and engage the customers.

You can find various job roles like marketing analyst, market research specialist, SEO analyst, etc. So, if you believe that you have analytical talent, you can opt for marketing and make the best use of your talent.

3. Talent for Coordination

People who have talent for coordination are the people who can proactively coordinate the execution of a plan, i.e., to organize, direct and control resources to accomplish desired goals in a timely manner. They possess the ability to work with a number of people performing different operations and to make sure that all are working with a same objective to reach the organisational goal. In addition, they will have effective spoken and written communication skills to express their ideas and views clearly.

Marketing is not a single operation. People in marketing department need to work with various teams of the company to get their work done. In such a scenario, the art of co-ordination is critical at every step. Right from the product designing department, product development, packaging, pricing, distribution, to the sales department, they need to collaborate with all the departments in the organisation.

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The Advantages of Direct Fit LED License Plate Light Replacements

Jun 27 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

For any popular product or application, there will usually be a huge list of the same type of products to choose from; one example would be when you are shopping for LED license plate lights. There is a plethora of products to choose from when shopping for these lights, but they can be quickly categorized into an LED bulb replacement, LED panel replacement, and direct fit LED replacement assembly. While one may have a benefit over another, it is generally accepted that direct fit replacement LED assemblies are the way to go and this article will explain why.

LED bulb replacements are simply a replacement of the factory incandescent halogen bulb with the LED version. These types of replacement license plate lights are simple to install and can be done relatively quickly; installation times usually vary between 5-15 minutes. They are also inexpensive upgrades costing less than the other two types. Since LED bulb replacements have to be the same size as the factory bulbs, there is limited space available for putting on a large amount of LED diodes to increase the brightness. Because of this, replacement LED bulbs are typically not as bright as their other replacement counterparts and easily overheat the bulb shortening the life span.

LED panel replacements are LED diodes on a specific sized circuit board that fits inside the housing of the license plate assembly. These are typically brighter than LED bulb replacements due to the larger number of LED diodes on the panel. Installation time is about the same as the first option above as well and the costs are the same, if not, a bit more. One large disadvantage that these lights have is their compatible with various housings; for some vehicles, the housing is open and can allow larger components to be installed and some only allow the bulb to be installed. Overheating issues are also possible.

The last category would be direct fit replacement LED assemblies. These lights replace the entire license plate assembly as a whole. Since these lights are a direct replacement, they can use a large amount of LED diodes which improves brightness and sufficiently ventilate it to prevent overheating issues. The lens is also better designed to accommodate LEDs to maximize output. Installation takes 5-10 minutes since it replaces the entire assembly and it plugs into the factory wiring. The only disadvantage that these lights have when compared against the other two would be the cost; direct fit replacement LED assemblies are typically more expensive, but the extra money is going towards a brighter and more reliable light.

These are all the key advantages and disadvantages of LED bulb replacements, LED panel replacements, and direct fit LED replacement assemblies. While each category has their advantages, the benefits of having a direct fit replacement assembly seem to outweigh the disadvantages. With the information stated, it is obvious to see that the direct fit replacement LED assemblies are brighter, more reliable, and much easier to replace than the other alternatives on the market.

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