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Virtual Essentials

VIRTUAL Essentials

A strategic approach to marketing success

Starting up in business?
Looking to grow?
Seeking increased profits?
Wanting more freedom?
Feeling overwhelmed?

The six step marketing strategy for small business is made for you

1 in 3 small businesses fail in the first year of trading, with 60% closing their doors in the first three years

~ according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics

Donโ€™t be one of them

Change your sales stress to your sales success

Six Steps to Small Business Success


Strategy


Identity


Customers


Online Presence


Website


Marketing

๐Ÿฅณ๐ŸŽ‰2020 is finally coming to a close and 2021 is only one sleep away!๐Ÿฅ‚๐Ÿพ

I donโ€™t know about you but Iโ€™m looking forward to the potential this new year brings.

Do you set yourself New Years resolutions?
Do you prefer goals?
Do you ensure theyโ€™re achievable?
Do you maintain your resolutions?
or do you drop them within the first few months of the year?

Goals should be achievable and offer rewards to ensure success and continued growth.
It is no use committing to a resolution of going to the gym five days a week if youโ€™ve never done it before. Itโ€™s much easier to build momentum. Plan to go to the gym once a week and build up over time rather than becoming despondent after missing three in that first week. Little steps.

I have set myself some impressive and encouraging goals for this next year and then broken them down to the first of four 90 day goals. These goals cover not only business, but health & fitness and personal growth goals as well. I love having something to work towards but prefer setting myself goals over resolutions.

I am not fearful of failure as I have been setting myself some impressive goals over the years and some have come to fruition much sooner than anticipated - such as establishing Virtual Essentials. Some others have been adjusted, and some have not eventuated - 2020 was supposed to be the year of bathroom renovations ๐Ÿคฏ and I havenโ€™t even included that in my 2021 plans.

๐ŸงกGood luck and best wishes to you all in your own goals, pursuits, adventures and challenges. May you have every success you deserve.๐Ÿงก

Susan Escott ๐Ÿฅณ๐ŸŽ‰
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Wishing all my current and future clients, my family and friends a very merry Christmas. I hope that you all have a chance to relax and enjoy the holiday season. If you are working over the holiday period in the emergency services, hospitality or Council I thank you for your sacrifice. Thank you for keeping us all safe and well. ...

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2020 is coming to an end...

I'm not ready! There's so much more I wanted to have achieved by now. I feel that I haven't done enough for 2020.

How many others out there are feeling this way?

I was in a group coaching session this morning and was asked to put down in writing my greatest achievements for the year. It was a great opportunity to stop and reflect. I finished the call confident that I have kicked some goals in 2020. I recommend you do the same. You might be surprised at what you have achieved.

Personally I have been on the most amazing growth journey in the past six to twelve months, actually three or four years to be truthful.

I really stepped out of my comfort zone in leaving a job where I had been on a growth spiral which then petered out. I liken it to a rocket racing through the sky until the burners die and the rocket is left drifting through the atmosphere. It was time to again fire up my engines.

I set my new trajectory mid year and followed through with intensive study in the final quarter. So 2021 is the year when I soar, and take others with me. Its going to be a great ride!

My vision is to reduce the number of small businesses that fail within the first three years of start-up, by providing a strategic approach incorporating sound and ethical marketing practices.

Virtual Essentials, the small business and start-up marketing specialist, providing marketing strategies and packages to reduce startup stress and enable small business success
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What is an algorithm?

algorithm
alษกษ™rษชรฐ(ษ™)m/
noun
a process or set of rules to be followed in calculations or other problem-solving operations, especially by a computer
~ Oxford Dictionary

Google and Facebook use algorithms to improve the experience for their audience. In computer speak an algorithm is a set of instructions designed to perform a specific task - it is basically like a recipe used to assist you to navigate to where you want to go, without you typing that you want to head there.

I mentioned in my final six step marketing strategy for small business post about marketing that after you look at something you might then be shown more in your Facebook or web feeds, this is because a bot has been programmed with an algorithm to monitor what is read or clicked on to send more of the same. It is a very fluid and intuitive process and is why it feels like Facebook is watching you or that Google is listening to your conversations. It is how Spotify also knows what songs to recommend and why YouTube feed you similar videos.

A gamer is not going to be sent a video to watch on knitting, and by the same token a young mum is not going to be sent a link to automotive parts.

There is no-one at one of these companies watching or listening to you to then program your feeds but it can feel like it.

Many controversial issues and situations can be attributed to people being led by fake news portrayed as real, and we as humans encourage this. Algorithms, lacking the human element, do not know if they are sending fact or fiction unless they are told. If you investigate an ideology then algorithms can convince you by only providing you information that encourages this train of thought believing this is what you want to see. It will not necessarily show you the other side of the coin that you would see via the news on TV or in a newspaper.
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๐™’๐™๐™–๐™ฉ ๐™ž๐™จ ๐™– ๐™ก๐™–๐™ฃ๐™™๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™œ ๐™ฅ๐™–๐™œ๐™š?

I mentioned yesterday that the second step in a funnel is often either a website or a landing page. So what is a landing page? And why do some people refer to them as a funnel?

A landing page is a single page website that is built for the sole purpose and mission to bring a potential customer to the point of committing to a sale. It is usually separate from the business website and could have limited information relating to the direct query that the customer is seeking.

An example from Facebook would be if you saw an advert for a fitness book. If you clicked on the โ€˜learn moreโ€™ button you might be directed to a landing page.

When you arrive at the landing page there is no selling of other items, only the item you responded to in the advert. There are no other distractions to detract you from your purchase. If you were directed to the businesses main website and found it was for a fitness trainer or a gym overseas or on the other side of the country you might not buy the product. The product would be no different and the benefits the same but somehow you are less likely to commit.

If you are only selling locally you will have less need for a landing page, as landing pages often take the personal out of the purchase.

Why is a landing page often referred to as a funnel? From a landing page you may be directed to a contact page or checkout. Sometimes once you make the original purchase you might even be directed to another landing page where you can purchase something else, like a video series to complement the book, or supplements, and once you click yes to this you could be sent further on down the funnel. The good news is that at any time you are free to stop.

Think about how often you find yourself purchasing off a landing page without ever seeing the businesses front door or website? They are very effective.
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๐–๐ก๐š๐ญ ๐ข๐ฌ ๐š ๐Ÿ๐ฎ๐ง๐ง๐ž๐ฅ?

You have most likely heard of marketing funnels by now, but do you understand what they are and how they work?

Funnels are named not because they look like one, but because they work just like a physical funnel. They start with an advert of some sort, and lead to another destination โ€“ usually via a button which might say โ€˜learn moreโ€™, โ€˜downloadโ€™ or โ€˜book nowโ€™.

Once you click on the button you are usually taken to either the vendors website, or preferably a landing page, to gain more information. Whilst there you may choose to find out more information, taking that next step in the funnel, at which time you will likely be sent an email, receive a follow up call, or be booked for an appointment. ๐—ฉ๐—ผ๐—ถ๐—น๐—ฎ ๐˜†๐—ผ๐˜‚ ๐—ต๐—ฎ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ ๐—บ๐—ฎ๐—ฑ๐—ฒ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ท๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ฟ๐—ป๐—ฒ๐˜† ๐—ถ๐—ป ๐˜๐—ผ ๐—ฎ ๐—ณ๐˜‚๐—ป๐—ป๐—ฒ๐—น.

๐™Ž๐™ค ๐™ฌ๐™๐™ฎ ๐™ž๐™จ ๐™– ๐™›๐™ช๐™ฃ๐™ฃ๐™š๐™ก ๐™จ๐™ช๐™˜๐™ ๐™–๐™ฃ ๐™š๐™›๐™›๐™š๐™˜๐™ฉ๐™ž๐™ซ๐™š ๐™ข๐™–๐™ง๐™ ๐™š๐™ฉ๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™œ ๐™จ๐™ฉ๐™ง๐™–๐™ฉ๐™š๐™œ๐™ฎ?

The only people that see the ad are those that are targeted in the programming as potential customers, and from there they will only click on an advert if they are interested. It doesnโ€™t matter how many times they are exposed to an advert they do not move onwards unless they want to, which means that advert is effective at capturing only those that truly want or need the service.
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The final step in my six step marketing strategy for small business is the largest and most effective: Marketing. This is a proven Facebook ads campaign that progresses over a period of 12 weeks to generate leads direct to your business.

My coach and mentor, Cham Tang of Authentic Education, has spent over $1Million of his own money with Facebook and is now invited to their headquarters to be briefed on how the platform can best work for him - every time they change their algorithms. As the most successful marketer in Australia he has found that Facebook is still the most effective advertising platform around, and so I listen to his advice and follow it to the letter.

To further the extensive knowledge Cham is sharing with me, and his other students, I have invested in study with the Digital Marketing School. Their focus is perfecting the most successful funnel system. These guys have created millions for themselves and their clients by using this sure-fire method of generating customer attraction to the business.

Have you ever noticed how every third to fourth post on Facebook is an advert? and that these are customised to your interests? Ever noticed how you will look up something on your phone and the next thing you know every advert is about that subject or item?
Over lunch with a friend once I looked up a pair of Asics runners in a wide fit for her. I received ads for the next week from Nike, Asics, Rebel, and even Kogan โ€“ who knew Kogan sold Asics runners? It works.
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Step five in small business marketing success is having a website, though not just any old website. So many people have said to me โ€“ thatโ€™s ok I built my own, or my cousin can do it cheap.

Thatโ€™s fine for a personal website used to keep in touch with family and friends, but if it is purpose built for business it should be created in mind for converting customers.

It takes only three seconds to lose a prospective customer from your website so your website needs to grab their attention, clearly communicate the information they are seeking and provide credibility, legitimacy and the answers to their problems.

But thatโ€™s not allโ€ฆ A business website should be built with SEO in mind (thatโ€™s Search Engine Optimisation as discussed previously), which includes little tweaks in the content and the backend to attract visitors to your site. There are also reporting tools that identify how your website is performing.

The best part of having a great website for your business? You can communicate to many, as you would to an individual, providing a personal service to each customer - and since your website is available 24/7, itโ€™s easy to provide customers with up to date information on events, specials, and changes to operating hours, even whilst you are sleeping.
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Step number four in small business success is having an online presence.
There is more to having an online presence than just setting up a Facebook or Instagram page, posting some glamour shots, and sharing it with your friends. That is a start, and a few years ago it would have been the recipe to success, after all that's how many of todayโ€™s influencers made their millions.
Unfortunately the powers that be have changed the algorithms over the past few years and it is not so easy to become an influencer, even in your own small area of influence. If you are not paying your way the big guys are not going to let you share your story far and wide.
So what can we do to improve our chances? There are some little tricks that help and the first is just being there. Create a Google My Business page - it is free and therefore the cheapest, easiest website you can get for yourself. It may not guarantee small business success but it is one more step in the right direction.
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โ€˜Build it and they will comeโ€™

I don't know if you remember the Kevin Costner movie but can I just say that it might not be best to be blessed with a ghostly clientele when building a business.

Why do people build their own business?

There are many factors that lead to us buying or building a business and the top five, in no particular order, are:

*we are good at what we do
*we dream of a better life for ourselves
*we want to leave a legacy to our children
*we want to feel pride in what we do
*we want more freedom

There is also that element of wanting to serve our fellow man. Usually you won't start a business unless you can see that you are going to serve a purpose. The feeling you get from helping someone else is the best feeling in the world. I know that is what drives me to do what I do here. This was also the reason why I stayed in my last job so long. I loved that feeling of making someone else's day a bit better.

That is all good and well, but opening the doors and then waiting doesn't make money and chasing after customers is tiring, especially if it is detracting from your ability to do what you love.

And so the third step of my 6 step marketing plan for small business is identifying who your customers are, where they are, what they want, and how they are looking to find it. Then we make your business attractive to them, like honey to a bear...
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Who am I? What do I represent? What does that look like?

Clarity in your brand and identity when establishing your small business is essential. After all if you lack confidence and direction you cannot expect others to invest in you.

I love building brand identities. I love helping a business owner create their image as they want to be portrayed. It gives me such a great feeling to see someone shine when they realise how real it all is once they have their identity. We are not talking business cards, they're old school (although I loved buying myself some and won't stop anyone if they want them!)

Identity is so much more than just a logo - it is the colours that attract your customers and provide you with pride. It is the font you write your name in. It is any images that you wish to have people identify you by. A great example is how Cadbury at one stage patented the purple of their chocolate bars, and how many fast food establishments and Chinese Restaurants feature a lot of red in their colour scheme. Everyone knows the Nike tick, the Pepsi circle and Colonel Sanders smiling face.

How do you present? is there uniformity between your vision, what you wear and what's on your walls?
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The first step along the 6 steps to small business success is strategy.

What do I mean by strategy and how does this relate to small business success?

Before a business can commit to a marketing campaign they must have direction. Large corporations have mission, vision, and values statements which provide direction to their employees and customers.

A mission statement is a short statement declaring what the business believes in or stands for.

A vision statement describes what a company desires to achieve in the long-run, generally in a time frame of five to ten years, sometimes even longer, focused on achieving their mission

A value statement is not seen as much in small businesses, but it is no less important. It declares a businessโ€™s priorities and core beliefs to guide their actions and also their means to connect with customers.

An example of a vision statement is as follows:

Our vision is to craft the brands and choice of drinks that people love, to refresh them in body & spirit. And done in ways that create a more sustainable business and better shared future that makes a difference in people's lives, communities and our planet. - Coca Cola

Unfortunately it is rare for small businesses consider creating these statements, especially in the start-up phase. It is imperative though, to know why you get up and go to work each morning and what makes you happy. Establishing these parameters is like building the foundations for the future path of the business and a great first step towards small business success.
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Step 1: Strategy

Identify your why: Your mission, your vision, & your values

Step 2: Identity

Clarify your brand: Who you are & how you present

Step 3: Customer Relations

Identify your customers: Where to find them, how to attract them, & how to retain them

Step 4: Online Presence

Build or improve: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn &/or Google My Business

Step 5: Website

Build or improve: Design & development, SEO & Audit (including e-commerce)

Step 6: Marketing

A proven online marketing strategy