All posts tagged online marketing

Three Ways to Find New Customers Online

Three Ways to Find New Customers Online
Three Ways to Find New Customers Online

Three Ways to Find New Customers OnlineWith so much communication happening on social media and on the internet in general, it can be beneficial for you to take advantage of this resource. It is possible to find new customers online as long as you remember an important thing about direct sales: relationships. Even though you are venturing into cyberspace, building relationships is still a necessary part of running a successful direct selling business. Here are three ways for you to get started.

  1. Join and interact with a group online. Most of the most popular social media sites have groups to join for special interests. For example, a new direct sales consultant found a group on Facebook specifically for work-at-home moms in her town. After joining, she promptly began interacting by asking questions, commenting on others’ posts when she had ideas to contribute, and sending friend requests to those she has met in real life so they could see each others’ news feeds. Groups such as these contain like-minded individuals who can join forces, network with each other, make referrals, and provide support. Local groups are especially effective because you can meet others initially in an online setting, but follow through in real life so you can continue building the relationship. 
  1. Follow and interact with online leaders in your industry. If you don’t already know the names of your industry’s leaders, make it your priority to find out. Ask your upline, refer to your company’s corporate website, and search other direct selling websites. Choose a few who seem to contribute regularly to online discussions (blogs, articles, etc.) and follow them on social media. Twitter is a great forum for such discussions, since the microblogging site provides maximum exposure. Once you get a sense of how these industry leaders interact, get in on the action. Post questions, share success stories, and retweet (repost with credit) posts that are important to you. Keep in mind that most industry leaders have thousands of followers, so you may not get a specific mention or reply, but you are continuing to learn from the best and getting your name and brand out there. 
  1. Start a simple blog and/or be a guest blogger for established sites. Start your own blog using a free web publishing service like WordPress or Blogger. Be yourself, share your experiences, and invite others to interact. You’ll make connections and continue building relationships that can translate into new customers. If you really enjoy blogging, offer your services to established sites in your industry as a guest blogger. You’ll make a bit of extra money and increase your name recognition. 

The direct selling industry as a whole is continuing to evolve as we find new ways to use the internet to our advantage. Jump right in, use your existing people skills, and build those online relationships to find new customers. 

Do you have additional ideas about finding new customers online? Please share them in the comments sections below!

A Fantastic List of Resources to Grow Your Business

A Fantastic List of Resources to Grow Your Business

Are you looking for ways to grow your business? Increase your sales? Manage your time better? Here at DSEF, we’ve been providing content for years on these topics and many others, to help you build a more profitable and rewarding business.

So today, we decided to reach back into the archives and compile some of our posts by topic, to help you find the content that will help you with what you’re working on right now. Take some time to explore the posts below, and share them with your friends and colleagues. We wish you much success!

Grow Your Business from http://dsef.orgMarketing Your Business Online

Establishing Your Online Presence

4 Tips for Effective Online Marketing

Tips for Running an Effective Contest Online

5 Tips to Attract More People to Your Facebook Page

12 Tips for Successful Online Virtual Events

4 Ways Photos Can Help You Grow Your Business

Making Facebook Work for Your Business

Using Instagram for Your Small Business


Grow your Business from http://dsef.orgBusiness Growth

Free eBook: 15 Days to Greater Success

3 Things You Must Do Now to Grow Your Business

Reaching Your Target Market in Different Generations

6 Ways to Get in Front of More Customers this Holiday Season

7 Ways to Get More Customers

Planning for a Bigger Business: The 3:3:3 Approach

Free eBook: The Power of the Success Mindset


Tips for Business Growth from http://dsef.orgIncreasing Sales

5 Ways to Get More Sales From Existing Customers

3 Ways to Increase Your Average Customer Order

4 Ways to Master Your Sales Pitch

4 No-Cost Ways to Increase Sales



8 Ways to Be a Great Leader

What Your Team Needs

Leadership that Motivates


Time Management

Why You Procrastinate

Balance Without Sacrificing Business (How to Make your Business More Efficient)

How To Manage Your Time on Social Media


Grow Your Business from http://dsef.orgBusiness Finances

Creating a Budget for Your Small Business

10 Tips for Reducing Financial Stress

Tips for Taking Control of Your Business Finances


Which post has helped you the most with your business? Please share with us in the comments!

4 Tips for Effective Online Marketing

4 Tips for Effective Online Marketing

4 Tips for Online Marketing from http://dsef.orgOnline marketing can be a powerful tool for small business owners, when it’s used well. The tools are essentially free, costing you only your time and effort. However it’s important to be sure that you are strategic in your use of online marketing, so that the time and energy you invest isn’t wasted effort. Here are some tips to ensure that your online marketing brings results:

  • Start with a Plan: Too many business owners set up social networking profiles for their businesses without a plan. Then they simply post each day or week without a clear idea of what they’re trying to achieve beyond followers. But your social networking presence can be so much more than that if you put a little thought into it. So spend some time first thinking about what results you would like to see as a result of your online presence. Would you like to have more people become regular customers? Then focus on posts like specials that may attract first-time customers, and then following up with great information and excellent customer service related to what you have to offer. Would you like to be seen as a valuable part of the community? Then focus on highlighting local community service efforts which can lead to loyal customers. The point is to think about how you want to be perceived and who you want to attract, and then share content that’s related to your goal.
  • Less is More: Most small businesses do better with just one or two online presences, rather than trying to be on every social network that exists. So pick the social network(s) where most of your target market and customers spend their time, and put some solid effort into engaging there, rather than spreading yourself too thin. You’ll be more likely to develop quality relationships that lead to additional business.
  • Think Beyond the Promotion: Too often local businesses simply talk about their products and what they have to offer. To set yourself apart, focus on your community. Highlight a “fan of the week” and promote that individual and THEIR business or cause (they may send people to you that you wouldn’t reach otherwise.) Share content that will make your community think or laugh. Highlight community issues that are of interest to your followers. Become a source of useful information that people want to read and share, instead of just being a constant commercial. You’ll find your presence grows more quickly.
  • Plan Ahead: It’s harder to produce good content if you have to think of it while you’re trying to do twelve other things. So create an editorial calendar each month, and set aside a solid block of time to write your content for the upcoming month. Then you’ll be more likely to build up excitement around promotions in a logical way, and have a chance to do the research to find content your community will appreciate. By taking the time to plan, you’ll be more likely to engage your community and grow your online presence.

Online marketing can be a great way to find more customers and prospects for your business. By following these tips, you’ll have a more strategic presence that leads to growth.

Do you market your business online? What’s your best tip for growing your online presence? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments below!

Tips for Running an Effective Contest Online

Tips for Running an Effective Contest Online

Tips For Running An Effective Online Contest from http://dsef.orgNow that Facebook has changed its Promotions Guidelines, allowing people to use Facebook features such as likes and comments to enter contests on the social network, the landscape has changed for small business owners and entrepreneurs. No longer do you need to use a third party application to engage your online community with a contest.

But just because it’s easier now to run a contest online, doesn’t mean there aren’t guidelines you should follow. Let’s explore some of the options you have for running a contest online, whether on Facebook or elsewhere, and look at some best practices.

  1. Choose a Goal for Your Contest: One of the biggest mistakes businesses make when hosting a contest is not having a goal. Before you set up any contest, make sure you know what business goal you want to accomplish as a result of the contest, that will justify the time and expense you will put in. For example, you may be hoping to collect email addresses for your mailing list, which will ultimately lead to more sales. You may wish to increase your Page’s likes and reach, which will lead to greater brand recognition. Whatever your goal, make sure you have one, because it will help you structure your contest to achieve that goal.
  2. Decide What Tool You’ll Use for Your Contest: Sure, Facebook is an easy choice for your contest, but it’s not the only choice. Depending on your goals and your budget, you might choose to host your contest on your blog, on a separate tab on your Facebook Page, or on a social network such as Pinterest or Instagram. If your goal is simply to gain likes and shares on Facebook, you may just want to do a contest post on your Facebook Page that encourages those user behaviors. If you want to collect user information, you may want to set up a contact form on your blog  (using a contact form plugin on your blog or a Google Docs form) or on a separate Facebook Landing Page (using a 3rd party application like Pagemodo) that will serve as your entry mechanism. If your goal is to engage users on social networks beyond just Facebook, you might use a Rafflecopter widget on your blog or website that provides additional entries for pinning, tweeting, Instagramming, commenting, etc.
  3. Choose a Motivating Prize: When you have a goal for your contest, you also have a good idea of who you want to reach. Make sure you understand what motivates that type of person, so you can choose a prize for your contest that will attract them. For example, if you want to attract people who would be interested in organizing products, you won’t give away a book about sports. Rather, you’d give away a book about how to organize, or a product that helps someone organize their home.
  4. Choose a Time Frame: Avoid a contest that lasts too long, or you’ll lose momentum and interest. Many contests are most effective when they last a week or less.
  5. Write Up Your Rules and Keep Them Simple: It’s a good idea to write down the rules for your contest ahead of time so that there are no misunderstandings that could alienate the very people you’re trying to reach with your contest. Include such things as how to enter, what people will win, the dates for the contest, and when and how you’ll announce the winner. They don’t need to be complicated, but make sure they’re easy to understand. Post these rules on your website or blog (or a separate Facebook landing page) and provide a link to them wherever people enter your contest.

A contest can be a great way to attract new people to your business. But you need a strategy behind your contest to attract the kind of people that you’re looking for. So take a little bit of time to plan your contest based on your goals, and you’ll enjoy greater success.

What’s your favorite way to run a contest online? What tips do you have for making a contest effective? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments below!

3 Ways To Maximize Your Brand

3 Ways To Maximize Your Brand

MP900289528[1]When you have a product or service to sell, it’s likely that there are competitors that sell a similar type of product. You clearly understand why your product or service is better, but chances are your prospects do not. In order to attract new customers and keep them coming back, therefore, it’s essential that you develop a brand message that clearly differentiates you from your competitors, and highlights the benefits of coming to you. Here are some ways to maximize your brand message.

  1. Speak from the customer’s perspective. It’s very easy to simply list all the features and benefits of what you have to offer, but that’s usually not the best way to attract new customers. Rather, focus on the needs that your customer has that your product solves. For example, if you sell skin care products, don’t just list the ingredients of your product and what each ingredient does. Instead, focus on concerns like the appearance of wrinkles. Once you’ve highlighted a need that resonates with your prospects, then you can show them how your product solves this problem, and why it’s better than other products. In a crowded skincare environment, having someone focus in on a customer’s problem, and why your product is the best solution can create an irresistible pull towards your brand.
  2. Highlight your unique value. What you bring to your business cannot be emphasized enough. Often, many products offer similar benefits. Sometimes what causes people to shop with you is YOU: the superior customer service you offer, the knowledge of your customer’s needs, your high level of product knowledge that can’t be found in a big box store. Make sure prospects understand that when they shop with you, they’re not just getting a product…they’re getting the personal level of service that only comes when they shop with you. You’ll find that people aren’t used to this level of service, and once they find it, they tell their friends about it, and refuse to shop anywhere else.
  3. Offer extras. Another way to set yourself apart from your competitors is to provide an extra layer of service that can’t be found elsewhere. Offer a Facebook Page, blog or Pinterest account that offers tips related to your business. for example, if you sell nutritional supplements, provide content related to healthy living. If yous sell green energy, talk about ways to save on your energy bill while taking care of the environment. By providing this additional content, you become even more valuable to prospects, and offer them something they can share with their friends for free. You can also introduce your customers to additional products that complement what they have already purchased through sampling, or give them an additional product sample that they can share with a friend. All of these extras set you apart, and give your business a way to go viral.

Setting your brand apart in a crowded marketplace requires you to offer a customer experience that amazes and delights your customers. When you do this, customers won’t even consider going anywhere else. How do you maximize your brand? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments below.


5 Tips To Attract More People To Your Facebook Page

5 Tips To Attract More People To Your Facebook Page

Young Woman Sitting in Front of a Computer and LaughingHaving a Facebook Page for your business is a great idea! It’s a place that you can begin to develop a community of loyal customers and friends who are excited about what you have to offer, and who are willing to share with their friends. But if you’ve set up a Facebook Page and things seem slow, here are some tips to help you engage your community and make it more active.

  1. Plan content that your fans want. Remember that Facebook doesn’t show your posts to everyone that likes your Page. Usually just up to 10% of your fans will see any one post. However, you can greatly increase your chances of a post being seen when others engage with your post through either a Like or a Comment. So if you want your content to be seen, think about why your fans liked your Page in the first place, and then give them what they want! And plan ahead. Write out your posts at least a month at a time in advance, taking into account holidays, observances and special sales and deals you may be offering. Take a look at the kinds of posts that have created the most engagement for you in the past, and write more like them. This is the best way to reach your current fans, and possibly even have them share your posts with their friends, creating even more visibility for your Page and business. For more tips on improving your Facebook Page post reach: Tips for Improving the Reach of Your Facebook Page Posts.
  2. Invite your online friends and contacts to like your Page. Right below the Cover Image section of your Facebook Page, there is a “Friends” section in your admin view of your Facebook Page. From here you can select friends to invite to Like your Page. When you do so, your friend will get a notification that you’ve invited him or her to Like your Page. You can also share a particularly engaging piece of content from your Facebook Page with a note that if they’d like to see more of this type of content, they should like your Page.
  3. Offer deals that help community service organizations. For example, a local restaurant offered a deal where if people dined at the restaurant on a particular night and brought a flyer, 10% of the check was donated to the local food pantry. Lots of people in the community that supported the food pantry were excited about the promotion, and shared the information with their friends, tagging the local business on Facebook. This encouraged others not only to dine at the restaurant, but also to Like the business on Facebook, creating more fans for the business.
  4. Interact as your page on other relevant Facebook Pages. If you click the little wheel icon in the upper-right corner of your Facebook Page (in the blue bar at the top) you can choose to use Facebook as your Page. Then, every comment you make on Facebook comes through with your Page name, rather than your personal account. When you are on Pages related to your business (such as a Work from Home Women Page or a crockpot recipes Page, for example) post helpful comments as your Page. Answer questions, thank people for great information and offer tips. Don’t use this as an opportunity to spam the Page with your contact information. Rather become a useful part of the community. People whom you interact with may want to find out more about you, and click on your name, which will lead them to your Facebook Page.
  5. Advertise on Facebook. One of the best ways to grow your Likes on Facebook is to advertise on the platform. By running ads specifically designed to grow your Likes, you will find that your Like number grows fairly rapidly. Even starting with a budget of $10/day can help you grow the number of Likes on your Facebook Page. For more tips on writing effective Facebook Ads, read this post: 8 Tips for Effective Facebook Advertising.

Facebook offers lots of tools to integrate your Facebook Page with the rest of your online presence, but the real magic happens when you use your Page to truly engage your fans, and create a presence that people want to see, and share with their friends. With a little thought and attention, your Facebook Page can become a place where you will engage the biggest fans of your business, and create a community that you’ll enjoy interacting with.

How have you grown your Facebook Page? What are your tips for successfully growing your Likes? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments below.


3 Ways to Make Your Business More Attractive

3 Ways to Make Your Business More Attractive

3 Ways To Make Your Business More Attractive from the http://dsef.orgAs a small business owner, your business is often an expression of yourself. And you can attract more people to your business when they feel a personal connection to you. In fact, this is what changes people from occasional purchasers to loyal customers that recommend you to everyone they know.

So how do you make your business more attractive? Here are some tips:

  1. Be Genuine. Think about the people you know who are absolutely good. You love spending time with them, and helping them, don’t you? People love the feeling they get when they interact with honest, genuine people and businesses. Make sure your businesses practices are absolutely honest and ethical, and always choose to do the right thing, even when it’s not convenient. If you believe in a particular cause, use your business to support that cause, and talk to your customers about it. It will help them come to know the real you, and love you, and your business, for it.
  2. Express Your Passion. There is a difference between businesses where people just show up, and the ones where people are passionate about what they do. Make sure your business is an expression of your passion, and help people feel that passion every time they choose to do business with you. Go that extra mile in service. Educate people a little more each time about why your business matters in their lives. If you love what you do, people will feel it, and passion is contagious. In an era of social media, word of mouth can spread globally, and that passion can help you grow your network and increase your business.
  3. Invest in Others. Helping others is always good business. So find causes that your business can support, and make sure your customers know about it. For example, a local bookstore agreed to host a donation bucket for a local food pantry’s food drive. But in addition, they also offered to give an extra discount to customers that brought in more than just the minimum donation. This created goodwill in their community, and also gave the food pantry another reason to talk about their business which helped them gain more customers. Investing in others is a great way to build the goodwill that brings more business.

Making your business more attractive is simply a matter of helping people come to know what you believe in, and helping them feel the passion that you feel.

How do you attract people to your business? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments below.

Are You Making These Mistakes in Business?

Are You Making These Mistakes in Business?

MP900289918[1]Throughout your career as a small business owner, you are bound to make the occasional mistake. No matter how prepared you are, how much research you have done, or how smart you and your team may be, mishaps are pretty much a guarantee. However, the good news is that as long as you accept them, take them in stride, and learn from them, the damage will usually be minimal. Here is a brief list of some common mistakes made by small business owners to help you steer clear of preventable missteps.

  • Inconsistency – Being consistent is an absolute must, whether it pertains to your company policies, customer service protocol, or any other aspect of the way your business operates. Inconsistency equals lack of reliability and will send your customers and staff running to your competitors. For example, your staff handbook clearly states that repeated lateness to work will result in first a warning, then a brief suspension, and finally dismissal. This policy is enforced for everyone except one employee you’ve known since college. Because you and your friend go back a long way, you have turned a blind eye when it comes to her tardiness. Not only is this unfair to the rest of your staff, but it puts a major dent in overall morale. When people feel that there are different sets of rules for different people, they become unhappy in their jobs, and their work suffers. Be fair and consistent in every aspect of your business.
  • Failure to stay in contact and/or follow up – Acquiring contacts through networking, referrals, or through family and mutual friends is a great way to grow your business. However, you must do your part to maintain such contacts. Implement time in your daily or weekly schedule to make follow-up calls, send friendly emails, or jot down a handwritten note to your contacts. These can be prior customers you haven’t seen in awhile, people you’ve recently met at industry events, or even prospective clients whose information was given to you by a friend. Be proactive and keep that contact list current.
  • Lack of online presence – Here we are in the year 2013. The importance of an online presence cannot be emphasized enough. Here’s some perspective: the current generation of 20-somethings has no memory of life without the internet and has been using social media their entire young adult and adult lives. You don’t need to get on every single networking site and try to be everything to everybody, but at the very least, have a user-friendly and informational company website as well as a current profile on one or two social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. If you don’t make this a priority, your competitors will easily get the best of you.
  • Neglecting to listen and respond to your clients – Most people frequent small businesses over their larger corporate counterparts because of the personalized attention they receive. Be sure to make it worth their while by listening to their concerns and responding to their wants and needs. Even if you can’t provide everything they’re looking for at the moment, knowing that you care and that they are being heard will ensure that they remain loyal customers in the long run.

Although many mistakes cannot be avoided, certain mistakes can. Use common sense, listen to others, be fair, and follow industry trends.

What other common mistakes would you add to our list? Please share your ideas below!

Three Ideas to Maximize Your Marketing

Three Ideas to Maximize Your Marketing

beprepareAs a small business owner, marketing is one of the most important things you do to keep your business growing. Don’t rely on guess work and speculation when putting together a marketing strategy; with thorough preparation, you can spend your marketing dollars wisely and get the best return possible on your investment. Here are three ways to maximize your marketing budget and efforts.

  1. Do research on clients first, and then use targeted ads and personal messaging. You should know exactly who is patronizing your business. Create a detailed profile of your typical client, including economic and social demographics. The more specifics you include, the better able you’ll be to target your efforts toward your intended audience. Once you’ve researched your clientele, create ads targeted to that specific population. Reach out to prospects on social networks with a professional message that peaks their interest in your business. For example, an independent nutritionist and mother of four, “Cheryl,” seeks to attract clients much like herself: busy moms who want to provide healthy and convenient meals for themselves and their families. She finds that most of her clients are working moms who have the extra income to spend on such a service, so she targets her ads to this population. To maximize this strategy, she also reaches out to certain personal contacts on her Facebook page, specifically people who have posted status updates about starting a new diet or workout regimen. By researching her clientele, Cheryl can focus her time and money in places where they will not be wasted.
  2. Promote the value of what you are selling. The best way to promote value is to emphasize the versatility of a product or service and how it is the solution to a problem.  Cheryl the nutritionist knows that her services can be costly, but in her marketing, she stresses the value of modeling a healthy lifestyle and instilling lifelong healthy eating habits in our children. She offers a sample grocery list to show potential clients how they can actually save money at the grocery store by buying fresh produce to make multiple meals that are easy to cook and will last the week. Her goal is for clients to see the value of a good education about what we put in our bodies. When it comes to our children, it’s a safe bet that most people will do whatever they can to establish good nutrition.
  3. Be social, fun, and unexpected. Don’t make the mistake of relying on electronic and print ads to connect with your potential customers. Socialize in person and tap into your fun, spontaneous side. Cheryl threw a party to welcome a new neighbor to her street, and provided snacks and a meal from her personalized menu. Anytime someone complimented her on the food, she had an open introduction to point out how easy it was to prepare and how nutritious it was. Find ways to incorporate some personal flair into your business.

The goal for any marketing campaign is to spend your money wisely so as to increase revenue as much as possible. Research your clientele, focus on value, and have fun with it.

What other ideas would you add to our list? Please share them in the comments section below!

How to Handle Criticism of Your Business

How to Handle Criticism of Your Business

How to Deal with Criticism of Your Business from http://dsef.orgWouldn’t it be great if everyone was as excited and positive about your business as you are?

Unfortunately, every business owner eventually encounters critics…people who only have negative things to say about you or your business. Sometimes these comments come from complete strangers, but sometimes they come from those who are closest to you. And it can be discouraging! Fortunately, you are not the first (and far from the last!) to deal with critics as an entrepreneur, and there is lots of wisdom to be gained from those who have “been there, done that.”

We asked our community on our Facebook Page to share some of their experiences. Here is some of the great advice they shared:

  • Find misconceptions, and share the facts. Howard Fidler from Minnesota writes: “Find out what their objection is and then give them facts to overcome it,” and Marcia Flach from Texas suggests: “Ask them questions!” This is always a great strategy. By asking specific questions you can uncover the reason for the criticism. It may be that the person you’re talking to misunderstands some aspect of your business or is making certain incorrect assumptions. By providing facts that counter the misconception, you can overcome the objection and possibly create a new customer or business partner. 
  • Respect differences of opinion. Occasionally, you and the critic may just disagree on certain points. And that’s OK too. Respect their right to disagree with you, and leave things on a friendly note. You never know when, down the line, someone may have a change of heart. If you’ve left the door open and friendly, they may eventually come back to you! As Mark Arsenault from California says, “Be pleasant, then go achieve massive success!”
  • Know when to move on. Sometimes you need to realize that no matter what you say, someone doesn’t want to hear your side. And that’s OK. There are plenty of other people who will be open to learning more about your business. As both Robyn Mohs from Montana and Christina Ortiz from Texas shared…”Next!”
  • Refuse to dwell on negativity. Sometimes, even after the critic has stopped talking, we continue to think about what he or she said, running it over and over in our minds. And too much of this can stop you in your tracks. Don’t let it keep you from focusing on your own success. John Taylor advises: “Move on. Life is too short to deal with Negativity!!!!”

Finally, we leave you with these wise words from Kelley Michelle Barnett of Texas: “I was told to accept the word no, put a smile on and deal with it because when you least expect it you will get a yes and straight up positive.” Good advice indeed!

How do you deal with people who criticize your business? We’d love to read your advice in the comments below!