Do You Really Know What Business Marketing Is?

There are countless books and courses on marketing and how to do it properly. You’ve probably read or attended some yourself. But, do you feel like you have a good grasp of marketing?Do you fully understand all the processes involved and how to best apply them to your company? When all the cards are on the table, most small-to-medium businesses don’t. Or at the very least, they understand these concepts.What Is Business Marketing?
Everything a business does, everything you do to sell products and services – is marketing. Every decision you make, if it’s about how to put your products or services in the hands of consumers, is business marketing.The foundations of marketing are relatively easy to explain and understand. But mastering these essential concepts can mean the difference between success and failure.You don’t have to micromanage all marketing that your business does. In fact, it’s probably a good idea to hire a professional. However, that doesn’t replace the need to have a solid knowledge of marketing strategy. Business owners should always have a proactive role in their company’s marketing tactics.Essential Components of a Good Marketing Strategy
Not all marketing concepts will apply to every business. Some will be more relevant than others, but as an entrepreneur you should be familiar with all of them.Inbound Marketing
Think of inbound marketing as your workhorse.It’s a set of marketing tactics designed to maintain a steady influx of customers into your sales process. This isn’t about pushing your brand to generate leads or direct conversion.Inbound marketing uses various channels in creative ways to reach as many people as possible. Tools such as SEO optimization and social media channels are ideal for this type of marketing. The goal is to drive high volumes of quality traffic that can convert through brand engagement in the long run.Direct Marketing
If inbound marketing is your workhorse, think of direct marketing as your racehorse.Direct marketing includes sales tactics designed to produce an instant response. Things like calls to action in online or broadcast media fall into this category.Regardless of what else you do, direct marketing is an important part of any marketing strategy. It allows you to instantly measure success or failure based on response rates.Knowing how people are responding to one offering versus another is crucial.Outbound Marketing
This is where the rubber really meets the road.In outbound marketing, you’re reaching out to prospects and basically saying “buy from me.” This is typically what people think of when they hear the word marketing.Outbound marketing includes sales calls, print ads, broadcast ads, door-to-door sales and much more. Any activity in which you’re reaching out to potential customers with an offering figures into this definition.Though a staple in countless marketing strategies, it’s not very effective. It’s hard to figure out if it’s really working and people are getting savvier and blocking the majority of this type of marketing.Content Marketing
This is the new-old way to market.Most smart businesses realize that people are OK with marketing, as long as they get something in return. For example, if you create great content, consumers will be happy to hear from you.Therefore, every channel you have should start by giving value in return for your customers’ attention.Social Media Marketing
It is inescapable, omnipresent, and pervasive.Marketing is about getting attention. If you can’t get people’s attention, you have no one to market to.The biggest attention vacuums nowadays are social media platforms. It goes without saying that any marketing strategy that doesn’t include social media, is off to a bad start.Start with Solid Foundations
Each of these components has its own place in the puzzle. Some may be more important to your business than others. But only by understanding them all can you find your way out of the marketing madness.Don’t be a passive business owner. Take charge of your marketing strategies and stop wasting resources on marketing that doesn’t deliver.

Big City Travel Tips – Safety First

Big city travel has never been more alarming for individuals not used to city travel and unfamiliar with the city in question. It can be daunting traveling to a new destination, but apprehension is more likely to rise to the surface when you look at just how many crimes take place these days. Couple that with the alarming big city travel stories that have been publicized on the Internet and it is little wonder that individuals debate as to whether they really want to experience certain cities for themselves!However, big city travel tips can easily help to put the minds of potential travelers at rest. There are several things that anyone can do to keep themselves safe in the big cities and thus can visit them, see the sights and enjoy some well-earned time away from the stresses and strains of modern life with little hassle. Simply follow the big city travel tips below and you cannot go far wrong!1. Luggage – Only take what you need when you travel and make sure that you have a list of the belongings in your bag. This big city travel tip can save you time if your luggage does get stolen, but will also enable you to find what you need in an emergency. You should never leave your luggage unattended for even a second while traveling in a city. It will most likely either be stolen or tampered with if left unattended for a few seconds so ensure that it remains within your sight and possession at all times.2. Money – Only take one or two credit cards with you on your big city travel trip and ensure that the PIN numbers, if you have them, are not in your possession. Also, when taking money with you, split it up. Divide the cash between pockets in your luggage and areas on your person. For example, keep some of it in your socks, some in a pocket, some in a money belt under your clothing and so on. That way, if anything does happen to you, you will at least have enough money to get back to your hotel. If you are going to a city abroad then take travelers checks with you because they are insured. If you lose them then you can cancel the originals and receive replacements usually within 24 hours.3. Schedule – Vary your schedule from day to day when undertaking big city travel. This may not seem like a big deal to couples and families that are set in their ways, but individuals looking to make a quick buck one way or another undoubtedly target some tourists. If you vary your schedule then it will be almost impossible to predict where you are going to be at any given time and this can keep you safe.4. Clothing – Never wear anything that projects wealth or affluence when undertaking big city travel. This includes jewelry, clothing and any accessories that may point to the fact that you would be a great target for a mugging or robbery. Most tourists wear normal and relatively cheap clothes that blend into the background, and anybody flaunting that guideline is putting him or herself at risk.5. Family – If you and your family split up during big city travel time, make sure that you have a way to get in touch with each other, have arranged a set meeting place and time, and are completely clear on all of these points so that you will be alerted to the fact that anything is wrong straight away. Wherever possible in big city travel, individuals traveling together should stay together. However, the need does sometimes arise. If it does, make sure that you all have the address of the hotel and a map of the city with you at all times.6. Scams – There are always individuals looking to scam people that are strangers to an area, and during the course of big city travels there are many of them about. Only ask trusted sources for directions and advice, never follow the guidance of strangers unless they are affiliated with official bodies and only buy merchandise from official stores. These guidelines may sound like common sense, but many people flaunt them and this can get them into difficulties!

Business Planning – Do You Make These 5 Marketing Mistakes?

What is the one thing every business wants more of? Money! Are you struggling with how to take your business to the next level? Do you feel like you’re stuck in a stagnant place and are unsure of what actions to take to grow? You are not alone! As a business owner, you are busy constantly. There is not enough time in the day for everything. Making mistakes with your marketing efforts can only magnify some of your struggles. Read this to figure out if you are you making these 5 costly marketing mistakes.Mistake #1: Winging itEver hear the expression: Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance? This ties right into your marketing strategy. If you want results, you have to put in the proper planning and formulate a strategy, then execute accordingly. This is why it is called a marketing strategy. It takes time, effort, and research to develop the necessary marketing plan. This is crucial to the success of your marketing efforts. Too many businesses “wing it” whether it be for lack of knowing how else to attack it or pure laziness. You worked too hard to get your business up and running. Put some effort and time into developing a formalized Marketing Plan. Figure out who your target customer is and the best way to market directly to that target audience. You may already be wasting effort and money on marketing to the wrong audience! Do your homework. We promise… you will save time AND headaches in the long run.Mistake #2: Giving Up Too EasilyWhat would we do without instant gratification today? Searching for answers literally takes seconds on our computers or cell phones. We have access to more knowledge at our fingertips than we could have imagined 10 years ago. Technology has embedded this need for instant gratification in our minds. It has created a society of people that give up way too easily. Like most success in life and business, marketing takes time and persistence. In fact most prospects need to be exposed to your company, its services, the benefits received or problems solved, 7-13 times BEFORE they will decide to purchase. Don’t think that one attempt at reaching out to a prospect will magically make them open their wallet. Don’t think that even 3 times of reaching out will do so. It make take 3, 6, or 9 exposures to get your prospects comfortable with you and your company. Marketing is a marathon and you have to be in it for the long haul.Mistake #3: Not Adapting to Current TimesRemember when newspaper or radio ads were the most effective way for a company to advertise? Well along came the 21st century full of technology. Embrace it. If you don’t have an attractive, user-friendly website, you’re making a mistake that could turn new customers away and inhibit your growth. If consumers find it difficult to navigate or looking outdated, they may leave with a negative impression of your company and never return. Don’t allow this to happen.Are you refusing to get your company on social media or advertise using video? This is also costly. The internet, social media, and video marketing are here to stay. If you want to have your business thrive for many years and generations to come, it’s best to get on board… now!Mistake #4: Lack of ConsistencyIn order for marketing to be effective it has to be creative and consistent. Think “Out of sight, out of mind.” This is true with any prospect. You don’t know what situational changes are going to occur in their life that may cause it to be… The Right Time. You don’t want to miss the opportunity when it arises. If you haven’t been planting those seeds and nurturing them all along, you won’t be there when they are ready to harvest. The goal of marketing is to be the company in the forefront of the consumer’s mind when they raise their hand and need help. Many businesses make the mistake of sporadic marketing or marketing only when business is slow. Marketing needs to be continual to smooth out the seasonality of business cycles. Don’t let your business fall into this trap!Mistake #5: Backing Off When Goals are AchievedFinally, the 5th marketing mistake you may be making is backing off when goals are achieved. This mistake may be the worst one. It’s too easy to breathe a sigh of relief and relish in the success you have achieved. Successful businesses get comfortable when things are running efficiently. However, the issue comes with being too comfortable. As stated earlier, marketing efforts can take 3, or even 6 months to start showing results. This lag time is why discontinuing your marketing efforts, then desperately trying to ramp them back up can be extremely dangerous. It is much wiser to consistently maintain your marketing efforts, then amplify and enhance them as needed. After all, customers may come and go for a variety of reasons. Focus on keeping lifelong customers, and a marketing plan that will help generate new ones during good times and bad.Marketing is not always fun to do or think about when there is so much else going on. At the end of the day though, marketing is important to the success of your business. Treat it as such and avoid these 5 marketing mistakes. Taking the time to plan and actually prepare with the necessary research will make it so much easier to perform the steps outlined. Don’t forget, persistence is needed for successful execution of your marketing plan. You believe in your business. Make sure your marketing efforts reflect that!