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The simple truth about generating more sales in modern times

Professionals today are hoping to increase sales, but are doing so based on outdated assumptions. Here’s how to earn more in modern times.

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Be the customer, and get more sales

There is this assumption that we all should attempt to reach hundreds of thousands or millions of people, so we can make dozens or hundreds of sales.

It’s the reason you want to make a huge splash with your startup or product launch, right? it’s the reason why people try to go viral.

But what if this just isn’t true?

We’ll come back to that shortly. For now just do this thought experiment with me.

You Be the Customer

Let’s say that you want an apple right now. The thing you want most in your life is to take a bite out of the most perfect apple that you can find.

Pretending we all live a country where fresh produce is abundant, it shouldn’t be too hard for anyone to a- afford an apple, even an overpriced one b- have access to the finest apple even if you have to hop on a bus to get to it.

Assuming both of those things are true, the first thing to do is to find out where you can get the best apples. No one who wants something they truly care about starts off saying “what’s the cheapest one I can get?”

You Go Through the Discovery Process – Looking for the Best

Remember, your mouth is watering. You won’t be satisfied or happy until you get that apple problem taken care of, preferably in the near future.

Now, if you already know where to get the best apples, you just head straight there. If you don’t you probably took your cell phone out and searched for “best apples near me”.

If you have some apple-loving friends, you might also ask them for their opinions. If not, during your search you’d look at reviews.

However you do it, you’d go through discovery process and find the place that provides you with the best possible apple in your price range. And if you wanted the best apple possible, you’d probably look at a couple just outside your price range.

Now, you’ve done your discovery and your due diligence. Confidently, you venture out with data on your first three choices, determined to get your apple.

You Compare Your Top 3 Choices on quality, price, and experience

At this moment, in your mind, apples aren’t an option, they’re a necessity. Thus you’re willing to pay a price to get the thing that you want. The assumption is that before you even start to pursue this apple, that you can already afford it, from your general assumption of what an apple costs.

In other words, price is not on your mind. Quality is. At the back of your mind would also be the apple experience – do you want to walk in a store or pick a fresh apple off a tree? Produce cart or grocery story. Things like customer service probably matter too.

So you walk to the place you chose, assuming

  • they have apples,
  • you’re going to get them,
  • and that they’re going to be delicious.

So what could a person possibly do at this point to screw up your apple buying experience?

I mean most of the salesperson’s job is already done.

You know you want an apple. You’re willing to pay a bit extra for quality, convenience, or just the right unique experience. In fact the only thing that can stop you from buying an apple right now? Are the same things we startup folk often screw up because we forget about the basics.

Let’s say you walk into this store to buy apples, and all you see are a bookshelf full of great books and magazines about apples, and a wall with a feed of their tweets?

Frustrated, you head to your second choice. This one is more of the same but at least they have checkout counters. But you get there and they take every type of payment except the debit card you brought with you, and cash.

By now you’re probably irritated, if not actually angry. All you wanted was an apple.

This is how your customers feel if you aren’t connecting your content marketing to your sales process.

Now Be a Startup Again

Here’s where we get back to how to do better marketing as a startup. If you’ve been making the mistake of having a sales process that’s confusing to your customers, all hope is not lost. And if you think about it, this really isn’t your fault.

Unlike big companies, most startups aren’t employing a full marketing department full of professionals who have proven themselves in the field. Sof if the light bulb just went on over your head about what your company might be doing wrong to attract customers, don’t kick yourself just yet.

You aren’t trained to be the best marketer in the world. You figured out how to make the best technology to perform a certain function, or you came up with a killer gadget.

And that’s okay.

But if you want to stay in business, this needs to get fixed.

Whether you hire outside help or enable someone within the organization to become knowledgeable, it’s clear that knowing how to connect what you sell to the content you’re marketing is key.

Stop making the path to a sale more complicated

The truth is, you don’t need hundreds of thousands or even tens of thousands of visitors to make hundreds or thousands of sales IF:

  • you carefully target your content to your best possible customer match
  • you tie your content to your sales process and/or
  • you tie your content to some kind of opt-in subscription so you have more than one chance to make the sale.

Almost every time I’ve worked with a startup that had great exposure but slow sales, the solution had to do with better targeting, widening exposure or making the path to a sale much easier. You don’t need to reach more people most of the time. You just need to make a better impression on the people you DO encounter.

If your problem mainly lies in a lack of conversion to sales, there are a few things you can do.

First, make sure you have created a few landing pages for at least your top products. Second, comb your onsite and offsite content, and make sure there are prominent calls to action that lead to specific landing pages, not just the home page of your site.

In general, home pages don’t make great landing pages.

Next, do some testing with your sales pages – when do people who don’t buy abandon your site? When do people who reach the sales pages abandon the sales process? Maybe your sign-in form is too long, or your checkout process is confusing.

When you’re sure everything is up to par, go through your site with a friend or colleague, the less web savvy the better, and observe them trying to make a sale on your site. The average consumer is likely less of a web expert than you are. Yet, they know how to use Amazon, buy a song from iTunes, and get things from Etsy or eBay.

If you have the other problem – trouble with marketing or getting people to share your content- we’ll talk about that next time.

#GetMoney

Tinu Abayomi-Paul is the CEO of Leveraged Promotion and a member of Network Solutions Social web Advisory Board. Her website promotion company specializes in reputation management, and engineering demand generation system for businesses, integrating search, expertise marketing and social media.

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3 Comments

3 Comments

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  2. Carol Martin

    June 19, 2015 at 6:36 pm

    Great post !!Easy to understand your thoughts and helpful to implement on your ideas .I found this article shareable and rich in content .It is informative and helpful post . thanks for sharing this valuable article with us.

  3. Pingback: How absolute statements can damage your sales efforts - The American Genius

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Business Marketing

Canva is catching on to content trends, launches in-app video editor

(MARKETING) Canva launches an in-platform video editor, allowing access to their extensive library of assets and animations to create high-quality videos

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African American woman working on Canva Video Editor Desktop in office setting.

Video content consumption is on the rise, and the graphic design platform, Canva, took note of it. The $40 billion Australian startup has entered the video business and announced the launch of its video editor, Canva Video Suite.

The end-to-end video editor is an easy-to-use platform that anyone, no matter the skill level, can create, edit, and record high-quality videos. Best of all, it’s free, and it’s available on both desktop and mobile platforms.

The tool has hundreds of editable templates that you can use to create videos for several online platforms like TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook. Some templates can be used to create workplace and business videos, while other templates are perfect for personal videos. There are playful themes you can use to create that spooky video just in time for Halloween or make a laugh-out-loud video to send to your best friend! With a wide range of selections, in no time you’ll start creating your very own video masterpiece with Canva.

Caucasian man holding iPhone showing Canva video editor on mobile.

What else does the video software offer and what can you do with it? Well, let me tell you:

Collaborate in real-time

Having everyone on the same page is important and Canva’s video suite takes that into account. To collaborate with others, you simply send them an invite, and together you can edit videos, manage assets, and leave comments to give your input.

Video timeline editing and in-app recording

Similar to building presentation slides, Canva’s scene-based editor simplifies video editing by using a timeline approach. With it, you can quickly reorder, crop, trim, and splice your videos. Also, users don’t need to leave the platform to record that last-minute shot; within the app, you can shoot and record yourself from a camera or a screen.

Library of assets

The video editor is filled with an array of watermark-free stock footage, icons, images, illustrations, and even audio tracks that you can choose from – but if you really need something that is not on their platform – you can upload your own image, video, or audio track.

Animate with ease

Although still in the process of being released, soon you will be able to add animations of both text and visual elements in just a few simple clicks. Among others, animation presets that fade, pan, and tumble will help you transform your video and take it to a whole other level.

Overall, Canva Video Suite is very intuitive and has all the essential things you need to create a video. And by streamlining the video creation process, Canva is ensuring it enters the video marketplace with a bang.

“One of Canva’s guiding principles is to make complex things simple, and our new Video Suite will allow everyone to unlock the power of video, whether that’s to market their business, make engaging social posts, or express their creativity,” said Rob Kawalsky, Head of Product at Canva.

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Business Marketing

Amazon attracts advertisers from Facebook after Apple privacy alterations

(MARKETING) After Apple’s privacy features unveil, Amazon adapts by taking a unique approach to targeting, disrupting revenue for the ad giant Facebook.

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Two African American women work at their desks, one viewing Amazon's advertising landing page.

As a de facto search engine of its own persuasion, Amazon has been poaching ad revenue from Google for some time. However, disrupting the revenue stream from their most recent victim – Facebook – is going to turn some heads.

According to Bloomberg, Apple’s recent privacy additions to products such as iPhones are largely responsible for the shift in ad spending. While platforms like Facebook and Instagram were originally goldmines for advertisers, these privacy features prevent tracking for targeting – a crucial aspect in any marketing campaign.

Internet privacy has been featured heavily in tech conversations for the last several years, and with Chrome phasing out third-party cookies, along with Safari and Firefox introducing roughly analogous policies, social media advertising is bound to become less useful as tracking strategies struggle to keep up with the aforementioned changes.

However, Amazon’s wide user base and separate categorization from social media companies makes it a clear alternative to the Facebook family, which is perhaps why Facebook advertisers are starting to jump ship in an effort to preserve their profits.

This is the premise behind the decision to reduce the Facebook ad spending of Vanity Planet by 22%, a home spa vendor, while facilitating a transition to Amazon. “We have inventory…and the biggest place we are growing is Amazon,” says Alex Dastmalchi, the entrepreneur who runs Vanity Planet.

That gap will only widen with Apple’s new privacy features. Bloomberg reports that when asked in June if they would consent to having their internet activity tracked, only one in four iPhone users did so; this makes it substantially harder for the ad campaigns unique to Facebook to target prospective buyers.

It also means that Amazon, having demonstrated a profound effectiveness in targeting individuals both pre- and post-purchase, stands to gain more than its fair share of sellers flocking to promote their products.

Jens Nicolaysen, co-founder of Shinesty (an eccentric underwear company), affirms the value that Amazon holds for sellers while acknowledging that it isn’t a perfect substitute for social media. While Nicolaysen laments the loss of the somewhat random introduction charm inherent on Instagram, he also believes in the power of brand loyalty, especially on a platform as high-profile as Amazon. “The bigger you are, the more you lose by not having any presence on Amazon,” he explains.

As privacy restrictions continue to ramp up in the coming months, it will be interesting to see how social media advertising evolves to keep up with this trend; it seems naive to assume that Amazon will replace Facebook’s ads entirely, tracking or no tracking.

Apple's privacy landing page showing iPhone users ability to shut off location services and a desktop image of a user's ability to control how their data is managed.

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Business Marketing

How many hours of the work week are actually efficient?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Working more for that paycheck, more hours each week, on the weekends, on holidays can actually hurt productivity. So don’t do that, stay efficient.

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Clock pointed to 5:50 on a plain white wall, well tracked during the week.

Social media is always flooded with promises to get in shape, eat healthier and… hustle?

In hustle culture, it seems as though there’s no such thing as too much work. Nights, weekends and holidays are really just more time to be pushing towards your dreams and hobbies are just side hustles waiting to be monetized. Plus, with freelancing on the rise, there really is nothing stopping someone from making the most out of their 24 hours.

Hustle culture will have you believe that a full-time job isn’t enough. Is that true?

Although it’s a bit outdated, Gallup’s 2014 report on full-time US workers gives us an alarming glimpse into the effects of the hustle. For starters, 50% of full-time workers reported working over 40 hours a week – in fact, the average weekly hours for salaried employees was up to 49 hours.

So, what’s the deal with 40 hours anyway? The 40 hour work-week actually started with labor rights activists in the 1800s pushing for an 8 hour workday. In 1817, Robert Owen, a Welsh activist, reasoned this workday provided: “eight hours labor, eight hours recreation, eight hours rest.”

If you do the math, that’s a whopping 66% of the day devoted to personal needs, rather than labor!

Of course, it’s only natural to be skeptical of logic from two centuries ago coloring the way we do business in the 21st century. For starters, there’s plenty of labor to be done outside of the labor you’re paid to do. Meal prep, house cleaning, child care… that’s all work that needs to be done. It’s also all work that some of your favorite influencers are paying to get done while they pursue the “hustle.” For the average human, that would all be additional work to fall in the ‘recreation’ category.

But I digress. Is 40 hours a week really enough in the modern age? After all, average hours in the United States have increased.

Well… probably not. In fact, when hours are reduced (France, for instance, limited maximum hours to 35 hours a week, instead of 40), workers are not only more likely to be healthier and happier, but more efficient and less likely to miss work!

So, instead of following through with the goal to work more this year, maybe consider slowing the hustle. It might actually be more effective in the long run!

This story was first published in January 2020.

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