Category: Business Management

December 22, 2015 Content Marketing Tips from Your Receptionist… Bringing Value to Your Brand

You didn’t know your receptionist did that, did you? Well, a receptionist can be a surprisingly good source of content marketing strategies and inspiration.

This is because these front line agents know what your customers are concerned about and they probably have it written on a sticky note somewhere. Customer feedback is extremely valuable. Why wouldn’t you use that information for good?

Receptionists Provide Real – Time Analytics

If your business doesn't have the right online image, you could miss out on money. A virtual receptionist could actually help things run much smoother.
If your business doesn’t have the right online image, you could miss out on money. A virtual receptionist could actually help things run much smoother.
Image Source: Smith.ai

This term is thrown around a lot online. It refers to tools that collect information and delivers it to you as it happens. It’s common in any type of content marketing strategy, and it is an absolute necessity for any effective marketing campaign.

Where does the information come from?

  • It comes from things such as follower counts, comments, and page views. It is the stuff you should care about if you are trying to grow your image online.
  • Your receptionist can collect useful information as well. Especially if it’s a virtual receptionist like the ones at Smith.ai. With individualized service, they can collect custom information from your callers and send you a daily report.
  • Want to know what is on your customer’s minds? Post your phone number online. Don’t worry- you won’t have to talk to them. Your receptionist can take down all of the messages.

Speaking of Business Phone Numbers

If you are planning a content marketing strategy for your business, you probably aren’t thinking about promoting your phone number. You should be. If they can’t find your number, how will they call?

If you have a phone number on your website, that is not enough. What happens while your site is not showing up in a search yet? The result is people who cannot find that number. There’s no reason why you couldn’t promote the number on its own!

In my blog post, 5 Ways to Optimize Your Smith Number, I discuss ways to help you do just that so that people can find you. To do this online, I suggest creating business profiles on Yelp and Google that include your phone number. However, that’s not the only way.

When using a receptionist, you can place your phone number at the bottom of blog posts or articles as well. Talk about not being afraid to connect with your readers!

Your Receptionist Can Bring Value to Your Brand

These are just some of the ways that show how a virtual receptionist service can improve your content marketing strategies. Depending on your creativity, the possibilities can be endless.

See, your receptionist is more valuable than you may have realized! If you don’t have a receptionist or thought you couldn’t afford one, I’d be happy to set you up with a free trial of our service. Let’s discuss more ways a virtual answering service could help your business goals.

Author Bio:

Jenn Marie is a product specialist at Smith.ai, a call answering service based out of California. She writes about virtual receptionist services, online marketing, and productivity for busy professionals. Read more of her articles at the Smith.ai blog.

August 27, 2015 Small Business Sales Apps: Sales and Marketing Automation CRM Solutions

This week, we discussed apps that help small businesses sell more services and products more efficiently. In other words, these apps help you and your small business make more money. Yesterday, we discussed 3 Sales-Focused Customer Relationship Management Apps. Today, we’re covering Sales and Marketing Automation CRM Solutions that help streamline your business’ sales pipeline.

3 Sales and Marketing Automation CRM Solutions

So, you’ve collected and mined all of your customer data using the apps we discussed earlier this week. Now, it’s time to put the discoveries you’ve made based on that data to good use. But, how do you act on that data in order to close sales, and still not waste any of your precious time?

The key is automation!

The three Sales and Marketing Automation apps below help small business owners automate various portions of the sales process. These automations are based on data you pulled from your customer relationship management (CRM) system. Yes, they are a bit more costly than the small business sales apps we covered this week. But, the more you automate your sales process, the more money you’ll make in the end.

Contactually Sales and Marketing Automation
Contactually Sales and Marketing Automation
Image Source: The Next Web

1. Infusionsoft Sales and Marketing Automation CRM Solutions

Infusionsoft is a all-in-one, robust sales and marketing automation solution. It’s automation tools include e-commerce capabilities and lead management. Here are two of the Infusionsoft features that really stand out:

  • Drag-and-drop intuitive campaign system which automates tasks in response to numerous types of onsite and offsite triggers
  • Ability to score all of your leads (higher scores mean stronger leads) based on the behaviors of the leads themselves

2. HubSpot Sales and Marketing Automation CRM Solutions

HubSpot is yet another all-in-one sales and marketing tool. It focuses on using content for inbound marketing purposes. Through its innovative free HubSpot CRM, lead management is completely automated for you.

What’s the main difference between HubSpot and Infusionsoft? HubSpot has the capabilities needed to actually host your webpages on its platform. This, in turn, allows them to offer some really efficient and effective features, such as alerts triggered by the actions of your leads on your website.

3. Contactually Sales and Marketing Automation CRM Solutions

Contactually is a small business sales app that puts focus on keeping your relationships with all of your sales contacts and leads alive. focuses on keeping the relationships with your contacts alive. These are just some of the cool features of Contactually:

  • Sales process management
  • Numerous types of reports
  • Automation tools and processes

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Interested in Sales and Marketing Automation tools and solutions for your small business? The EntreMarketing Group helps small business owners integrate automation apps with responsive websites. Contact The EntreMarketing Group for more details on to use automation tools to make more money online and off.

3 Sales-Focused Customer Relationship Management Apps

August 26, 2015 Small Business Sales Apps: Social-Focused Customer Relationship Management Systems

This week, we’re going over various ways for you to use customer relationship management or CRM to help your small business sell more and sell better. Yesterday, we discussed 3 Sales-Focused Customer Relationship Management Apps. Today, we’re focusing more on the social side of CRM. Sit back and get ready to improve your company’s sales as we learn more about these two social-focused customer relationship management systems.

2 Social-Focused Customer Relationship Management Apps

These two social CRM apps made it to our list today because of their abilities to help you eliminate data entry tasks. This is due to their automation features, which allow you to gather customer data in a breeze. There are two areas where both of these sales-focused customer relationship management apps shine most:

Able to take customer data from multiple sources, consolidate it and bring it all together in one spot.

For example, both social-oriented CRM apps can take data from your emails, social media networks and calendars, then use all three to capture reminders and notes for every contact. Think about it. Without a way to collect customer data, how in the world can you leverage it?

1. Nimble Social-Focused Customer Relationship Management App

Nimble automatically kicks in gear, collecting each one of your lead’s emails, as well as social network updates from numerous platforms. Then, everything is compiled together in a single spot. And, all of this is done without you have to deal with lots of data entry.

Discovered sales opportunities can be managed in the Nimble Deals Dashboard.
Discovered sales opportunities can be managed in the Nimble Deals Dashboard.
Image Source: Small Biz Trends

Over time, the Nimble rules engine learns exactly what you find important. This helps you get rid of unnecessary noise so you can quickly understand just what solutions your customers and leads need. All of your leads are easily manageable right from the Nimble Deals Dashboard.

2. Batchbook Social-Focused Customer Relationship Management App

Batchbook is an automation tool that collects both tweets and emails from your leads. This allows you to get the big-picture view of just wants on the minds of your potential customers. There’s also a sales-pipeline view in the Batchbook CRM app that’s very effective when it comes to helping small business owners manage potential deals.

Social-Focused Customer Relationship Management App Batchbook organizes tweets and emails, and stores them on the cloud.
Social-Focused Customer Relationship Management App Batchbook organizes tweets and emails, and stores them on the cloud.
Image Source: Small Biz Trends

With Batchbook, there’s no need to worry about data entry. The social-focused CRM tool organizes contact information, so you and your entire team can access it online from the cloud.

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Ready to automate your social media marketing (SMM) efforts to help drive my sales through your online networks? The EntreMarketing Group specializes in SMM and various Social-Focused Customer Relationship Management tools. We even design them! Contact The EntreMarketing Group about improving your small business’ social-based marketing efforts today.

August 25, 2015 Small Business Sales Apps: Sales-Focused Customer Relationship Management Systems

This week, we’re discussing sales apps that help small businesses sell more products and services. In other words, these apps will help your small business make more money. Yesterday, we discussed 2 Social-Focused Customer Relationship Management Apps. Today’s apps are related to sales-focused customer relationship management (CRM) systems that help streamline your sales pipeline.

3 Sales-Focused Customer Relationship Management Apps

Customer relationship management (CRM) solutions help you streamline your online sales pipeline. Using the right CRM apps will allow you to put more focus on your customers and potential customers that are most likely to buy right now.

Today, we profile three sales-focused customer relationship management apps that cane be integrated with various other popular solutions and tools. Each one offers on-the-go mobile sales apps as well:

1. Pipedrive Sales-Focused Customer Relationship Management App

Pipedrive is a sales-focused customer relationship management app that helps streamline the sales process.
Pipedrive is a sales-focused customer relationship management app that helps streamline the sales process.
Image Source: Pipedrive

Pipedrive app was created by sales-pros. So, it’s rooted in the direct sales industry. Each feature of the Pipedrive app was developed to help small business owners keep up with sales processes. Some features include:

  • Viewing the Sales Pipeline
  • Sales Timeline Views
  • Vigorous Sales Reporting
  • Easy Email System Integration

2. PipelineDeals Sales-Focused Customer Relationship Management App

PipelineDeals was created to help you and your team members be more productive. This CRM app uses technological power to help you manage your sales process while learning from your sales data. PipelineDeals is simple to use, and includes such features as:

  • API to collect real-time leads from your website
  • Sales automation process
  • Collaboration system for teams
  • Lots and lots of CRM reporting

3. Pipeliner Sales-Focused Customer Relationship Management App

Pipeliner CRM app puts focus on the end-to-end sales process by adding more predictability and consistency to the way you sell products and services. This is done by providing you with one centralized system that helps you track prospects from the lead phase all the way to the sales and repeat sales phases. What makes Pipeliner so different from the other two CRM apps above?

  • Gives you the option of working offline
  • Allows you to work from your laptop, desktop, cell phone and other mobile devices
  • Your data automatically uploads to the cloud upon reconnection

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Interested in Sales-Focused Customer Relationship Management for your small business? A responsive website is the best way to drive sales to your brand, and can be easily integrated with your favorite CRM app. Contact The EntreMarketing Group for more details on how to drive sales to sale more products and services online.

2 Social-Focused Customer Relationship Management Apps

May 20, 2015 3 Tips to Stay Motivated and Lead Your Business to Success

The thrill of launching your start-up is long gone. You’re now engrossed in the day-to-day challenges of running your own business. And, you seem to be losing motivation to continue pushing forward. So, what do you do to stay motivated to keep pushing forward? We have some tips for you.

3 Ways for Entrepreneurs to Stay Motivated for Business Success

Follow these three tips to help you stay motivated to drive your small business down the road that leads to success:

1. Set Realistic Business Goals

Is your start-up goal to earn $1,000,000 this year? Then, more than likely, you won’t be achieving that goal. You’re literally setting yourself (and your business) up for failure.

It’s okay to set these kinds of long-term goals. But, for a goal for this year, you need to set more reasonable short-term goals instead. Set multiple smaller goals and create milestones you can actually track and measure.

Then, draw up a plan of action to achieve those goals. Tackle that plan… one day at a time, and that will help you stay motivated to achieve business success.

You have to stay motivated if you truly want to see your business succeed.
You have to stay motivated if you truly want to see your business succeed.

2. Remember How Badly You Want to Succeed and Achieve

Do you know what the most important asset of a successful entrepreneur is these days? Perseverance. Two of the keys to keeping women entrepreneurs and small business owners motivated are:

  1. Ambition
  2. Determination

These two tools drive an entrepreneur’s need to succeed and achieve. And, it’s that need to keeps entrepreneurs from giving up each time they experience a failure.

When you find yourself losing your morale, take a look around and figure out who’s pushing you towards business success. Maybe it’s a goal-oriented mentor or an inspiring energized colleague. Either way, surround yourself with people who will motivate you by cheering you on through your journey to achieve big things and accomplish the success you desire.

3. Take Care of You

Most driven women entrepreneurs and small business owners have the potential to become workaholics. That’s okay, as you as you remember that being overworked and being invested aren’t one in the same.

Make time to take care of yourself each day. Eat right. Stay hydrated. Work out. And, by all means, take breaks during the day. Woman Entrepreneur Sharon Middendorf shares what she does to stay motivated:

“…ambition, exercise and meditation. This inspires and guides me through the days.”

If you’re not healthy, you can run a healthy business. If you don’t feel energized, you won’t be able to keep up the momentum you need to push your company forward. So, do whatever it takes to keep yourself healthy, energized and, of course, stay motivated to keep your company on the path to success.

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Ready to lead your small business to financial success? The EntreMarketing Group helps women entrepreneurs and small business owners build successful brands online. Schedule a free brand-building consultation with the EntreMarketing Group today.

April 22, 2015 Heard about the Target Canada Crisis? Here are 3 Things Startup Owners Should Learn from It!

In spring 2013, America’s second largest retailer, Target, opened chains in Canada. Just two years later, all 133 Target Canada stores are closing, putting about 18,000 people in the “unemployed” status. As experts are trying to figure out just what happened, we’re trying to learn from mistakes made by Target Canada.

3 Things Every Startup Should Learn from the Target Canada Crisis

Here are three things startups can learn from the way the retail giant handled things from the beginning:

  1. Startups should learn from the mistakes made by Target Canada.
    Startups should learn from the mistakes made by Target Canada.
    Image Source: opensourceway/flickr

    Horrible Managerial and Communication Practices – Many called the Target Canada corporate heads “distant and disinterested overseers.” Higher ups didn’t seem to care about employee issues and concerns. So, they went unresolved, leading to unhappy workers and customer Startups need to put processes in place from the beginning to ensure employee satisfaction.

  2. Unable to Adapt – Here in the US, Target workers are known as “team members”, and are taught to always be “Resilient and Adaptable.” But, Target Canada management didn’t understand the concept, or simply didn’t care to follow it. So, shelves were constantly empty, selections were redundant and prices were too high. As a startup, be prepared to adapt to the ever-changing needs of your customer base at all times.
  3. “Taking on Too Much Too Fast” – Those were the words of Target’s chairman and CEO, Brian Cornell, in regards to why Target Canada failed. Target put up a $2 billion investment to open these 133 stores in Canada. And, they simply weren’t ready for the long-haul. Every startup owner dreams of building a big business. But, growing too quickly without adapting to the changes that come with that growth can be disastrous. Add in a lack of communication, especially at management level, and your startup just may fail too!

Get your startup off the ground with entrepreneur and small business marketing you can trust. The EntreMarketing Group works with women entrepreneurs and small business owners all across the US. Contact The EntreMarketing Group to help you build your brand and get your startup known online today.

November 18, 2014 2015 Challenge: Improve Your Business with Better Goals and Diversification – Part 2

This is the second part of a 2-part post. We are challenging you to improve your business in 2015. Here are the last two steps to help you do just that. Missed part 1 of this 2015 business challenge? Click the link below.

Read Part 1 of This 2015 Business Challenge

Featured Image: Take part in this Boss Chicks 2015 Business Challenge and Start on Your Road to Success. Image Source: Big Exports

Step 3: Improve Your Business by Focusing on Personal Growth and Achievement

Gain a fresh insight into running your business by challenging yourself to have personal growth. This business challenge will improve personal growth, which leads to new skills and achievements. These new skills are directly related to new streams of revenue within your business. Personal growth can mean a lot of different things when you are talking about business, but typically, learning is a large aspect of it. In other words, women in business can achieve personal growth by focusing their time on learning a new skill as a 2015 business challenge.

Start your 2015 business challenge off by looking at classes that help develop your business. Consider how these classes could fit your personal goals. Maybe your business or working environment could benefit from some team building exercises. Simple steps like these will help build the confidence, productivity and overall mind-set of the entire company.

Step 4: Improve Your Business by Working Towards a Healthy Work/Life Balance

You are probably well aware of how being a business woman can be a challenge to your home life. Well, 2015 is the time to do something about it and create your own business challenge to success.  It begins by realizing that business success does not have to happen at the expense of your home life. Yes, it’s not easy, but neither is business, and you pulled that off! Instead of accepting it as a trade-off, approach it as a challenge. Make a healthy work/life balance a goal, not a fantasy.

When you focus on the first three steps of this business challenge, it should be easier to do the last step because your workday should have become a lot more productive. Also, try compartmentalizing the work and home aspects of your life. Keep them separate in your mind and respect those boundaries. Over time, it will become easier to recognize where work ends and home life begins (and vice-versa).

Are you ready to take this 2015 business challenge?

Which step will be the biggest business challenge for you?

Share your thoughts in the comments below.

November 17, 2014 2015 Challenge: Improve Your Business with Better Goals and Diversification – Part 1

2014 is coming to an end soon, and it is time for women in business to create a new goal. Perhaps you could even call it a challenge.  This 2015 challenge focuses on making you a better businesswoman. Can you improve your business and find a healthy balance between your business life and personal life in 2015? We’ll help you discover just how to do that.

Featured Image: 2014 is almost over. Time to improve your business for 2015. Image Source: Slide Team

4 Steps to Creating a Better You: Success For Women Entrepreneurs

Improving all aspects of your life requires explorations in diversification and self-growth in your business and workplace. So easily, women in business focus on the one thing they are passionate about, and shy away from a challenge. Without challenges, there can be no growth. Using diversification and personal development, you can grow within your business and possibly increase your productivity.

Here are four steps to help you meet this challenge and improve your business, as well as improve your life as a whole.

Step 1: Improve Your Business by Setting a Clear Goal and Going for It

Being successful in business is all about taking chances. The woman entrepreneur is no different. However, taking chances without a plan is just foolish. Take some time to set a clear goal, one that is challenging, but not impossible. Create checkpoints, micro-targets really, that help you stay on track and keep motivated while you travel toward that goal. As you complete these checkpoints, scratch them off your list and keep going to ensure that you improve your business for 2015.

When setting your checkpoints, make them challenges as well. While they are designed to keep you on track, there is no reason you shouldn’t celebrate the day-to-day victories of things that will improve your business, such as:

  • Sending out a new proposal
  • Coming up with new marketing ideas
  • Sticking to your schedule

Attack these micro-targets with little fear and you’d be amazed how easily you surmount the big goals. As the 2015 year progresses, you will notice that you are checking off old goals and adding new ones to the list, because your goals are being met. All of this will help you improve your business in 2015.

Step 2:  Improve Your Business by Finding a New Way to Use Your Skills

The easiest way to become stagnant is to do the same thing every day. Prevent this from happening by diversifying what you do based on what you know.  If you are a woman in business, chances are, you have quite a few skills. Use those skills to develop new areas of your company to improve your business.

For those businesswomen who work in services, try offering new services that could bring in new business. When you diversify your skills, you make yourself available for new opportunities, and as a result, new income streams as you keep working to improve your business.

Continue to Part 2

November 5, 2014 Want to Stick to Your Entrepreneurial Goals? Here are 4 Reasons to Do Just That.

If you’re a woman entrepreneur working hard to grow your business, each day presents an opportunity for you to complete what you started. The target goal should be to become the person you’ve always wanted to be in the business world. To be a successful woman entrepreneur, you must identify your entrepreneurial goals, and stick to them. When you view your entrepreneurial goals as a stepping stone, achieving them becomes that much easier.

4 Tips for Setting and Sticking to Your Entrepreneurial Goals

Focusing on your entrepreneurial goals is the perfect way to show you’re in control of your business. You must know where you are going and where you are coming from in order to achieve those business goals. A lot of businesswomen set entrepreneurial goals, but fail to achieve them because they have no idea which path to take. To become a successful entrepreneurial woman, you need to take charge and decide what you want to become in life.

Here are four reasons for setting your entrepreneurial goals and sticking to them:

1. Setting entrepreneurial goals makes you remain focused…

Having your own set of entrepreneurship goals ensures you remain on track. People aspire to succeed in business because they know which plans are required to make it happen. When you remain stuck to your goals, no amount of interruptions will derail you.

2. Entrepreneurial goals give you something to strive for…

Working towards becoming successful in the marketplace is a dream for many women entrepreneurs. Life is all about goals. And, we all live our lives with an aim of achieving our goals and setting new ones to work on.

3. Accomplishing entrepreneurial goals gives you an accomplished feeling…

You cannot be accomplished if you haven’t set any goals and achieved them. Accomplishment is a product of success and is such a great feeling. We all feel proud when we accomplish a task that initially, seemed impossible to conquer. To sustain this feeling, you must keep setting goals for your business and achieving them.

4. Entrepreneurial goals help you find something to believe in…

If you don’t believe in your abilities, you can never achieve a goal. Self confidence entails setting of goals, having a plan of achieving them and telling yourself you can do this. Cultivating self belief makes it easier to conquer even tougher challenges you never imagined you would.

Entrepreneurial Goals Help Create Successful Businesswomen

Becoming a successful entrepreneur all depends on how you set your goals and work towards achieving them. The above guidelines for entrepreneurial goals are practical tips to help you set and achieve your entrepreneurial dreams.