giovedì 2 giugno 2011

Come incrementare il proprio business con $0 (vale anche per l'euro) di investimenti

Questo post arriva direttamente dal blog The Entrepreneur Blog ed è decisamente interessante. Il titolare, nonché imprenditore, Evan Carmichael propone di sviluppare la propria strategia a "costo zero" sfruttando tre vie ovvero SEO, Social Media e gli Offline Media. Per scoprire il dettaglio delle azioni proposte è sufficiente proseguire nella lettura. Buon divertimento.



How To Grow Your Business On A $0 Advertising Budget – Ask Evan


Today’s post comes from a Facebook Page reader Angela who asked me how I grew my business without spending any money on advertising. I created this video to better explain what steps I took and how you can model what I did to reach your own success.
This post and video is sponsored by SAGE Simply Accounting’s Business Resource Centre. They offer a variety of helpful resources, tools, information and solutions to help you better understand the accounting and financial side of your business. If you’re having a hard time making sure you have enough money coming into your business, a good place to start would be their article on cash flow management: Better Manage Your Cash Flow: Top Ten Tips.
If you have any questions or want me to make a video about a different tool that I recommendleave a comment below and let me know!

Video (click to play)

Business Ideas: How To Grow Your Business On A $0 Advertising Budget

Transcript

Hi I’m Evan Carmichael and welcome to a special video edition of ask Evan. Today I am going to answer a question of one of my readers Angela who asked me how I grew my business without spending any money on advertising?
Angela’s question comes from our Facebook page. I recently posted a list here of my favorite tools and these are tools that I use to run my business and she loved the comment saying Under the “Growing Your Business” portion, I have to wonder with regard to marketing your brand, is that it? Certainly, I found you via a link from another website, with the right hook to reel me in, I found an attractive & useful website to keep me hooked, I opted for the emailed newsletter because I wanted more, and liked you on Facebook for real-time daily reinforcement of positive, inspiring stories. It doesn’t seem to me at all like you’ve wasted thousands on any advertising! Am I correct? My employer put me in charge of building our web presence, and we don’t have a big budget, nor do I have much time for this, as I have other responsibilities, but your formula here seems simple- and it works! Please advise if I’ve missed something here… You are a beacon! I truly value what you are doing!.
Well, first of all Angela thank you for the kind words. I replied below Angela, my advertising budget is $0 – everything has been done through SEO, social media, and the media and by the media I mean offline traditional media and I thought to create this quick video to expand on that a little bit more and show you exactly how I have built my business without having to spend any money on advertising. So here we go.

#1: SEO

The first thing I recommend is to make smart use of SEO. SEO is great because it drives targeted traffic to your website and it is people who are looking to solve a problem. They have searched in a keyword because they have a problem and hopefully you can help solve it but SEO starts with having really good content. So you have to think about the content that you are going to have on your site to start driving some of that traffic. When I first started my site, I was writing all the content and I really started around doing these famous entrepreneur profiles.
So here is one example of Anita Roddick who is the founder of the Body Shop and I would start writing some of this content because I found that inspiring and then one of the reasons that my business was able to grow is  I delegated some of those responsibilities when I realized I can only do so much in terms of content creation. I ended up hiring somebody to help me create these famous entrepreneur profiles and now we have the largest collection of famous entrepreneur profiles online and you can see some of the people who have profiles here on this side. We then opened it up to allow in other experts who were able to write and contribute to the site and we created an article directory here where there are all these different categories and people can contribute content. If you’re a business coach you can add articles to our website that deal with business coaching and show off your expertise. Each one will get manually reviewed by an admin of our team and then we will allow if it helps improve people’s business.
You want to start thinking about the types of content that you can add to your site on a regular basis and what you can do yourself, what you might be able to do with other people on your team and then also potentially people outside your team, how they might be able to contribute content to your website.
So you have try to find ways to give incentives to people who want to contribute content to the site so it is not just you doing everything. This works especially well if you are time crunched and if you have other responsibilities like you mentioned so you want to make sure you can get other people involved and you want to find the incentive to do so. You don’t have to go and create a huge content site like mine but you want to think about how you can add regular content to your website.
A quick example that I can show is through my blog and on the blog you will see that I have created a whole bunch of content myself and I write on a regular basis still talking about famous entrepreneurs like my post: 5 gutsiest entrepreneur launches of all time. But then I will also get some help and will do infographics so these are pictures describing articles. We’ll do lists of top 50 blogs in a certain category and this I have outsourced to people on my team and we’ll also do interviews. So here we have an interview with Stan Prokup, another interview down here with Brad Swift, who are both experts and authors on my website and that is a great way to get content on to your website without you having to do a lot of work so you are basically asking questions and hopefully it is content that be relevant to your readers and it is a great way to generate that content and start driving traffic to your website.
So you want to start thinking about the types of content that you can add to your site on a regular basis and what you can do yourself, what you might be able to do with other people on your team and then also potentially people outside your team, how they might be able to contribute content to your website.

#2: Social Media

SEO helped drive a lot of traffic to my website. We had millions of entrepreneurs check it out over the years but now most of  my time I spend actually on the social media side and I really enjoy this way to connect with entrepreneurs at a more personal level and try to build relationships with some of the people who are checking out your site – that can be a little challenging through just a SEO presence.
One of the first things you want to do after you set up your accounts, I spend most of my time on Twitter or Facebook and YouTube, you want to make it really easy for people to be able to find you and follow you on different accounts. At the top of all of my pages, you see I have a banner that looks like this. It has my blog, my tweets, my Facebook, my YouTube videos and those are my tools so you can easily find me depending on if you are more of a Twitter person, Facebook or YouTube. You want to make that really obvious for people. I find it is really helpful if you keep to a posting schedule and come up with ideas of what you are going to be able to talk about.
I tend to focus on the business side of things. I am not posting about my dog or what I am eating for breakfast but high value things that I think entrepreneurs would be interested in and find inspirational and you can see a mix of things that I post. If I click on my Twitter account, you will see that I may thank them, make few personal responses to people who have enjoyed my tweets, I post links of things that I enjoy, and some videos that I am working on. I will post quotes from famous entrepreneurs that I think are inspiring and I will usually post one to three times a day so it is not over load for people and people are not subscribing and re tweeting. It is a great way to start building connections with people who are talking about you and you want to encourage those people because they are out there telling all their friends about you, so you want to recognize them, give them the opportunity to tell even more people.
The point here of the newsletter and social media is to start building that relationship with people, you become known as the expert for whatever category you are in and a trusted resource and whenever somebody needs help they are going to come back to you to hopefully buy your service or sign up for your products or whatever it is that eventually you are able to make money from.
On my Facebook channel I will do similar things. Facebook is really good for pictures, so one of the things I have done is I take pictures of people who I am meeting with and I will put them in here, I will profile them and put a link back to their site. I will also show things such as what I am reading and I’ll ask a question of the week. I ask a question every week and get a lot of replies and it is a really great way again to connect with your community and followers and be able to follow up with them on individual basis so you want to empower your champions. You will never find out about these people normally through your SEO.
Finally YouTube is where I spend a lot of time as well and I try to create videos on ongoing basis. So here is my YouTube channel and you can see some of the videos that we have launched. If I click on see all, it will show all of them and it will show that they get some good views and they get some good comments and it is again a great way to connect with people. I try to reply to every comment that gets put up on my video and as people gives a thumb up and leave comments on it again you know, hopefully they are telling their friends and they are coming back to the site and you are trying to encourage them to be a little more sticky with the website than just come in read, one piece of content and take off.
Another great way to encourage this is through a newsletter and that is how a lot of people end up sticking on my website. I have got over here an option on all of my pages to sign up to join my newsletter and here I will send them weekly tips and advice, I’m not really selling products here but more offering value add information I think is inspiring and helpful and that is a great way to get people to come back to your site so somebody who lands on your website may be interested in something but then they go somewhere else, you may not ever get them back again so if you have a newsletter and a great way to get them to sign up to join the newsletter then you have a way to stay in touch with them.
Offer them deals, give them high value information but the point here of the newsletter and social media is to start building that relationship with people, you become known as the expert for whatever category you are in and a trusted resource and whenever somebody needs help they are going to come back to you to hopefully buy your service or sign up for your products or whatever it is that eventually you are able to make money from.

#3: Offline Media

The last point I want to talk about is the use of offline media and offline media is still very powerful I think in the online world because there are online entrepreneurs but you still want to be able to hopefully use some offline media to generate some awareness about your business and showcase yourself as expert. So I loved doing offline media. If you check out my about page. I have created a page that shows some of the media coverage that I have done. I have been fortunate to get a number of pretty high profile media coverage and you want to showcase that you are an expert so whatever industry you are in you better be good at it if you are going to become an entrepreneur and be successful. Why not expose your expertise to the media and be able comment on stories as they come out? What I have done is highlighted some of the media that I have been involved with and then show at the bottom if want to interview me here is my email address.
What I did was when I was first getting started was I made a list of all the different media lists that I could think of and started to go through one by one and find entrepreneur related news reporters who were at those media outlets and I would draft a new press release every two weeks and send it out. Every time I did that I would always get some kind of reply from somebody and the key here is when you do a press release you don’t want to just focus on you, right, you are not focusing on a product or service  you are launching because people don’t care about that. You want to pitch a story and then you want to showcase your expertise in answering questions about that story and then at the bottom is where I can a get a little bit more self promotional because they want to say you are expert from whatever company.
The more you can make it a story, the easier it is for reporters to be able to write about you and if you make their job easier, they are more likely to do it.
The more you can make it a story, the easier it is for reporters to be able to write about you and if you make their job easier, they are more likely to do it. If you think about your experience between advertising and getting featured in a news story, I take news story hands down every time. If you think about your own experience reading a magazine for example, do you spend more time reading the ad or do you spend more time reading the editorial or the stories? Now which one costs less? Obviously getting in the media can be really cheap compared to taking out advertising so it takes a little bit of time to do it. You’ve got to really think about your stories but I found that to be super helpful in helping me be able to get into a lot of different media.
One of the tools I also recommend on my tools page that help me is a service called PR leads and that should be somewhere here. Right here, so under the grow your business section, there is a service called PR leads and this is where reporters will actually submit their stories that they are working on and they are looking for experts. Now there is a cost to this, it is $99 a month and I have used it to get into New York Times and Forbes and some other leading publications which that looks really good for your company.
You can put that on your website that now you have been a featured expert for whatever publication and once that starts everybody else starts coming. If you get into one publication, you will start getting calls from others and others and others and it starts to snowball until you become the expert, the guru for whatever industry that you are in. So I found offline media to be highly effective as well in helping me drive business to my website and me not having to spend any money on advertising.
Thank you for joining me for another edition of Ask Evan. I hope you enjoyed the video and I encourage you to continue using SEO, social media and offline media to grow your business. Let me know if you have any questions. If you liked the video, I would love to hear your thoughts and feedback. Please give a thumbs up below and also leave a comment as well and stay tuned for next episode.
Thank you again to SAGE Simply Accounting and their Business Resource Centre for sponsoring this post. Stay tuned for more great content and updates that will be coming to the site in the next few months!