Your Steps to a Successful Business

Predetermine a course of action – It’s always best to figure out what you want to do and in what order. You can use the outline/schedule to help you stay on track.

Lay out your goals – Without a reason or an end or a goal at the end of your trek, you will not have the motivations or incentives to continue onward.

Adjust your priorities – Once you figure out what you want, you need to figure out what is most important. Some things must be done earlier; other things can wait longer.

Notify key personnel – There are some people you will need to help you reach your goals, and others who will need to stay out of your way. Let them in on your plans.

Allow time for acceptance – Not only personal acceptance of your plans and goals, but others should agree and accept them as well.

Head into action – Now is the time for your successful start to your successful venture. Do not wait longer than you have to.

Expect problems – Everyone and Every business has problems. Don’t let them surprise you. And you don’t have to plan them out, either.

Always point to the successes – To help prevent discouragement, look to and remember the goals you have accomplished and the good things that have happened. Don’t focus on the bad things.

Daily review your plan – Sometimes things do change, and you have to change with them. Goals, people, and events cause all sorts of change. Go over your current situation and change your plans and goals accordingly.

1. Set specific financial goals. Most people don’t think of creating and setting financial goals for their businesses. And I’m sure that that is why so many of them fail. They just don’t know where they are going, and where they are when they get there.

2. Offer a superior product. If your product is sub-par, it is almost guaranteed that your business will not survive for very long, even if you have a lower price than do your competition. If your product is average and rather comparable to that of your competition, you have a small chance of success. But by then the market might be a bit too crowded for another. However, if your product is superior, make sure to point out all of its special benefits and features and why it is superior. Only then will your business have a legitimate chance of becoming successful.

3. Start small and grow slowly. Sometimes small companies try to take on too much too quickly, and it just messes everything up, even the parts that were working perfectly before. You don’t have to stay small, although some do find immense success in that. Just take time growing, not rushing into huge new ventures with large financial transactions too quickly.

4. Test every major move before you invest. Finances are usually quite limited when a business is new, so investing a large amount into something they having it fall through can devastate the new business. Before you want to put more of your capital into something major, do some minor testing first just to make sure that it is a good enough risk.

5. Grow from your profits, not from borrowed capital. It is very acceptable, and usually quite normal, to begin your business from borrowed money. But once your business has established itself somewhat, do not resort back to borrowing. Instead opt to dig into the profits.

6. Select people carefully (hire slowly, fire quickly). When you are ready to take on new workers, don’t just take anybody from off the street. Look into each applicant very carefully. Interviews are vitally important. And when it’s time to let the person go, don’t waste time. Besides, it’s much less painful.

7. Use financial leverage. Leverage, or borrowing, is bad when the company cannot pay back the loan, but it is quite good when the borrowing causes tax breaks and returns on investment. Don’t be too afraid to borrow to help, just don’t borrow more than you will be able to pay back!

The Millennial Client

The Millennial Generation has arrived and they are hotly pursued. Millennials represent the future and everyone wants a piece of the 21 – 35 year-old market segment. While prospecting, you may have encountered a Millennial gatekeeper, the boss’s young assistant. Those in their early thirties are also increasingly in the role of decision-maker, so it’s time to make sure that your marketing message and sales strategy are appropriately tailored to what resonates.

Millennials have been even more heavily chased by Corporate America than Baby Boomers.They grew up in the age of product tie-ins to books and movies, video games, 24-hour television, music videos, social media and cell phones.They have been on the receiving end of 360-degree media bombardment for their entire lives. As a result, they excel at picking apart a marketing message.They respond to what they feel is an authentic story about a product and they do not want a slick marketing message.

Michele Serro, former associate partner at IDEO, a design and innovation firm and founder of Doorsteps, a New York City-based online tool for prospective homeowners that targets Millennials, has done extensive research on this generation. Serro found that for Millennials, the marketing message is nearly inseparable from the product itself.

She found that to influence this cohort, a holistic marketing approach is necessary and authenticity is essential. “Millennials can sense when they’re being marketed to or told a story”, Serro says, “and they are extremely impatient with irrelevant information.” A “canned” sales spiel will get you nowhere with Millennial decision-makers. If they feel that your message is false, you will be labeled as untrustworthy and that will be a deal-breaker.

Your sales pitch should be the story of your product:a believable narrative that explains what your product does, who your service is meant to benefit and how what you’re selling will help your Millennial decision-maker resolve or avoid a problem, make the organization look good, or service their organizations’ customers more effectively.

Because they’ve been forever immersed in social media, Millennials are accustomed to interacting directly with the purveyors of the products and services that they use. Facilitate that expectation of engagement:

1. Make the text on your website read like a conversation and design your ads to reflect the content marketing style, which is also conversational in tone. Your message will be somewhat personal and casual. It will allow your Millennial client to connect with, understand and trust what you’re selling.

2. Respect their intelligence and never dumb-down your message. Millennials are ambitious, as evidenced by their heroes Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg. Present your information in a fast-paced way that has some whimsy. You can be sincere or you can be clever.

3. Work with their short attention spans and spread your message via tweets, a constantly updated interactive website, regularly updated blog posts, YouTube and podcasts and content marketing type ads. Make all postings mobile friendly.

4. Give them the opportunity to engage with your brand. Start a dialogue that facilitates a conversation and set the stage for product loyalty. Ask questions they’ll want to answer. Create meaningful content that focuses on building community. Not everything should be a sales pitch.

Nancy Robinson, Vice President at Iconoculture, a Minneapolis consumer research and advisory firm, says that Millennials can become your loyal clients.”They’re loyal, but that loyalty has to be earned and renewed. They expect customer service, they expect the product to be good, they expect the product to work.”

Product Managers: The Fight’s Not Over Until It’s Over

As product managers, our job is to do everything in our power to make sure that our product is a success. It would be a wonderful world if only our potential customers would come to us and ask us to please sell them our product. However, it rarely happens that way. Instead, more often than not customers issue Requests For Proposals (RFPs) and we’re invited to submit a proposal along with several other vendors. I was recently involved in an RFP process and it went very, very badly…

The RFP Process

The large customer in this case had been happily using a product that was provided to them by a competitor of my firm. We had done a pilot of our product with this company and they had been very pleased with what our product could do. We had convinced them that their existing product was not doing all that our product could do for them and that they had to make a change. Because of the rules and regulations that they live with, they needed to create an RFP and get multiple bids. My firm was invited to submit a bid.

And submit a bid we did! Over the course of my career I have been involved in the creation of many different proposals and I can tell you that this one was a true piece of art that laid out our entire product development definition. The graphics team had gotten involved from the very beginning and the whole thing looked like one seamlessly put together professional document. The customer reviewed the proposals and we were selected as one of the four vendors (out of a total of 12 that submitted proposals) to make a presentation to a review committee. We practiced for this presentation and four of us delivered it, each of us covering our own area of expertise. There was no way that we could lose!

We lost. Not only did we lose, but we were informed that we had come in third place. This was not going to look good on my product manager resume. The firm that had won the RFP process was the incumbent that was already providing the service to the customer. We were speechless. The customer provided us with a “grading sheet” that showed us how we had ranked with the top two winners. We had lost by points in every category with the exception of one – “small business”. Damn it – what had happened?

The Fight’s Not Over

It goes without saying that everyone at my company was shocked, dismayed, and mad. And that was just about it. They understood that the customer had made their decision and there was very little that could be done about it. I was all of those things also, but I’m also a product manager and that means that the fight is not over until I say that it’s over. Something didn’t seem right about the way that the points had been handed out. I called up the person at the customer who had been in charge of running the RFP and we had a talk. She answered a number of my questions. The discussion was polite and went very well.

I continued to think about what she had told me and so I called her department again. She was out and so I ended up speaking with her boss. That call went well, but not all of my questions were answered. I sent him an email with more questions and a request to talk again. He called me back. The purpose of his call was to inform me that he was done talking about this matter with me. Ha. I talked and talked with him. In the end, I got him to agree to set up a face-to-face meeting with his boss to discuss how the proposal had been handled. This was done.

In the meantime as per the customer’s processes, all of the proposals that the other vendors had submitted became available. I requested copies of each of them and I ended up driving across town to get them on a flash drive because they were so large. That made for some very interesting late night reading as I studied what the winners had proposed. In the end, I had created a PowerPoint deck that laid out 15 issues I had with the how the winner of the RFP process had been chosen.

This was the PowerPoint deck that I then took with me to my meeting with the head of the customer’s purchasing department. She was a very nice lady and she treated me with a great deal of respect. I identified myself as an angry vendor who had lost a bid and then I covered all of my 15 points in the 30 minutes that she had allocated to me. In the end she seemed to indicate that some of my issues had some credence to them, but she informed me that she was not going to pull the RFP – I was still screwed.

What All Of This Means For You

You would think that this is where the story ends. Thanks for your extra effort Dr. Jim, but you are still a loser. However, there’s just a bit more to my story. It turns out that when the head of purchasing took my issues with the proposal up the chain, it eventually got to the lady who runs the firm. When she discovered that the firm that was currently providing her with the service had won the RFP process she said “no way” and killed the entire project. Now nobody had won.

Look, no – this is not an ideal situation. My firm did not win this big contract. However, just a little while ago we had most defiantly lost it. If I had not stood up and made some calls and gone to some meetings the other firm would have gotten the contract and we would have been losers. Now what we need to do is to find a way to restart the process and allow the customer to select us without having to use their RFP process. Where we are today is a lot better than where we were just a little while ago.

The moral of this story for you is to never give up. This should be a part of every product manager job description. When you are deal with a customer who has selected someone else, the battle is not over. You need to take the time to find out why that other firm won. You may still be able to sweeten your offer and take that win away from them. Follow my lead – don’t give up until the fight is over!

Dr. Jim Anderson

Establishing Your Brand on College Campuses

A Prospective College Audience

Many students are cash-strapped, nowadays. Nevertheless, their purchasing power is very high. Research reveals that 20 million students in the US have a combined disposable income of $417 billion. Moreover, another survey of students’ parents reveals that students now make 70 percent of their purchases themselves. These purchases are often made on credit cards. Therefore, students often have a significantly higher purchasing power.

If you know this, you can utilize it to capture the attention of the 16-24 age demographic. However, it is essential for your product or service to appeal to the lifestyle of the students. Additionally, student ambassadors should be utilized to spread the word about your product or service to their friends and classmates.
If you have not yet considered this demographic, it is time to reach out to them now!

Capture Their Attention

Social media is a popular method for socialization and communication between many young people. Students are the majority users of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. These are the right places to introduce brands to young people.It is probably the right place to introduce a brand to them. To capture the student audience, it is essential to be a part of the conversation; it is also important to keep them engaged. Social media is the ideal platform for this.

However, studies state that half of these social media savvy youngsters fail to follow brands on social networking sites. Students who do follow often only show temporary, marginal support. Social media is definitely a great platform for engaging students and spreading the word. However, it is definitely not the best for brand introduction and recognition.

College promotions are great for one-to-one interactions. These interactions are much more promising. Once a student’s attention is captured, social networks can then act as a great platform for students to speak about and promote their product or service. Student ambassadors can spread the word amongst their friends and acquaintances on social media.

College Promotions

You can capture the attention of the student audience by offering free or discounted products. When the product or service appeals to their lifestyle and interests, they are bound to speak about it, praise it, and promote it.

Recruiting student brand ambassadors is another successful strategy. Student ambassadors can gain attention from many other students when they are promoting your project. When students are satisfied with a product, they will assertively promote it to their friends, peers and acquaintances. Who can promote a product better amongst students than students themselves?

Therefore, it is a great idea to approach students directly. Student ambassadors can use and promote the product or service to other students, including their classmates, peers, and friends. Student ambassadors can generate healthy conversations about the brand, and they can answer questions directly. Additionally, student ambassadors can offer promotional products whenever and wherever they are required. They will also be able to spread the word of your products and services on their social networks.

Retargeting – The Secret to Expansive Market Reach

The marketing landscape is forever changing and everyday there is a new technique or tactic that you read about as the ‘it’ thing to do. Although this is not new, one marketing strategy business should definitely take a good look at is retargeting.

Retargeting campaigns are highly-focused and cost-effective marketing efforts that can help your business persuade interested customers to buy your products or services, as well as continually expand your market reach.

There are many reasons why prospective customers who check your products and services leave your website before making a purchase, including indecision, the desire to compare you to competitors, real life distractions such as phone calls or knocks on the door, wallet inconveniences, such as not finding their credit cards, and a thousand other reasons. Retargeting is the solution to all of these. It’s such an effective strategy that 88% of brands are already using site and search retargeting, according to the Chango State of the Industry report. Not using retargeting is a sure way to lose customers and suffer from online marketing conversion rates that are lower than average.

How Retargeting Works

The mechanism behind retargeting is straightforward and very effective: a bit of code placed on your website creates a cookie in the browser of your prospective customer, adding him or her to your retargeting list. After they leave your website, you can remind them about the product or service they viewed or about other similar offerings by retargeting them, that is, sending them ads that display while they browse the web. Retargeting creates the impression that your ads are everywhere, but that is of course not quite true — your ads display only to those people in your retargeting list.

Many marketers use Google AdWords’ retargeting tool for websites, which is a great starting point. In addition, social media giants Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn have their own retargeting tools, and there are plenty of advanced third party solutions, including Perfect Audience and AdRoll, which supports Apple iAds.

Retargeting Provides Great Value

Another reason for you to use retargeting is that it is a cost-effective marketing strategy in the long-term. Focusing specifically on visitors who have checked your products or services, it enables you to market your brand to an audience that is interested in what you have to offer. Of all forms of online marketing and advertising, retargeting offers the best value for every dollar spent. By being so targeted, it provides an expansive market reach at costs that are far below those of other online marketing strategies, and offers superior results to most types of ads.

Other Benefits of Retargeting

Apart from offering you a second, a third, a fourth, etc. chance to convert a visitor into a customer, retargeting enables you to capture valuable user data in a natural way, without having to invest in data mining or research. If your website receives a steady stream of visitors, placing a retargeting code on your landing page gives you the opportunity to build over time an audience within your wider audience that is a highly relevant retargeting list comprising of visitors who have shown interest in your brand, products, and services.

Used in this way, retargeting becomes a multi-purpose marketing strategy that not only increases conversion rates, but enables you to build a customer list to which you can later send personalized offers and ads. Without retargeting, building such a customer list would entail in-depth research and considerable costs, not to mention that it would take time.

Retargeting Works Across Industries

Another benefit of retargeting is that it is a highly versatile strategy that works for any business in any industry. It doesn’t matter whether you’re selling pizza, search engine optimization services, luxury watches, trips to exotic destinations, or website design services — retargeting is a dependable strategy that you can use to complement all your other marketing efforts. It goes great with organic SEO marketing, paid advertising, social media marketing, or content marketing. All the traffic that these strategies bring you can be used by a retargeting campaign to increase the efficiency of your marketing efforts.

Finally, it’s important to highlight that just because you don’t have an IT team doesn’t mean you can’t make the most of retargeting. According to the same study cited above, 47% of brands outsource their retargeting efforts. Whether it’s in-house or outsource, retargeting should definitely be one of the priorities of your marketing campaign.

Printed Carrier Bags – A Smart Way to Make Your Brand Known

A printed carrier bag seems to be the most appealing choice for anyone who wants to carry their items. These bags can be found in plenty of sizes, shapes and designs. The suppliers are loaded with a wide range of materials that a customer can choose from and get the printed carrier bags made as per his needs.

Printed carrier bags are definitely one of the most popular items that have been used by several consumer companies and they have one thing in common ie attracting more and more consumers to associate with their brands respectively. These bags when purchased in a huge quantity seem perfect for varied events like trade-shows, exhibitions, and any other event where one definitely expects to entertain a huge crowd by giving them a useful promotional item.

As you go on browsing through the Internet, it may surprise you that a printed carrier bag is not available only in one type of material, but cloth, plastic, vinyl, jute and many more. You can settle for the type of material you think would reach out to a wider target audience and would tempt them to visit your store only to make a purchase. Every relationship is based on give and take, so if you want the consumers to convert into your potential customers, ensure that you give them something that can be used by them for years to come.

Why many business owners have been investing in a fine-looking printed carrier bag?

If we talk about one of the most successful promotional giveaway items in today’s business world, it has to be printed carrier bags. They just seem to be an ideal choice for those who have been trying hard to make their brands known among the target audience, but could not due to adopting other means and techniques for the purpose of marketing their brands effectively. Using these bags will get the brand its desired visibility and exposure which are a must in order to achieve a goal of a successful brand promotion.

If you are looking for some of the exquisite designs, browsing some of the best known online shops is a right thing to do. You would not have to leave the comfort of your home by paying a visit to any shop out there, instead you can log onto the Internet and gain access to various online shops that have been serving the customers with the finest printed carrier bags for long. Not only would you be offered a wide range of designs and patterns, but also wholesale prices that would fit well within your budget. Wholesale printed carrier bags can be bought from a reliable supplier that can understand your need and what exactly you’re looking for. He can offer you a decent price if you buy these bags in bulk.

So, don’t let time slip you by, and use printed carrier bags to keep your marketing message alive.

4 Things You Need to Know About Importing Goods for the First Time

1. Tax and Customs. You may have to pay Excise Duty, Customs Duty or VAT on items sent from outside the European Union on landing in the UK. Often you may be contacted by the courier company explaining how to pay and duties or fees. Failure to pay within 3 weeks could result in your items being returned. Customs duty varies according to the type of goods being imported. There is no charge for anything valued under £135. Duty is payable at 2.5% on gifts between £135 and £630 (certain goods may carry a lower duty so it is always worth checking the official government website). For any gifts with a value over £630 or any other goods over £135 the rate of customs duty depends on the type of goods being imported. (The government has a helpline number where you can check the customs duty payable at 0300 200 3700).

2. VAT is payable on goods from non-EU countries for any goods with a value of £15 or more, or gifts with a value of £36 or more. Alcohol, tobacco and any fragrances (including perfumes and aftershave) of any value are subject to VAT. VAT is chargeable on the total value of the goods, plus the postage, packaging and insurance, plus any additional duty owed. Excise duty is payable on all alcohol and tobacco sent from outside the EU; if sent from inside the EU it is always worth checking that excise duty is included in the price, otherwise your goods may be seized.

3. Terms of Purchase If you are collecting your item directly from the factory, this is deemed to be ‘ex-works.’ This means you are responsible for all charges including Inland transport in country of origin, freight charges, and any duties applicable. One alternative to buying ex-works is FOB (Free on Board). In this case the vendor / manufacturer would take responsibility for transport to the point of export. Carriage Paid To (CPT) is a term of purchase whereby the vendor / manufacturer would pay all transport costs to arrival port, leaving customs clearance and forwarding costs to the importer. In addition to these terms of purchase there is also DDU (delivered, duties unpaid). The supplier would pay all transport costs and any ancillary charges, except for any import duties, VAT or Excise. It is important to make this distinction between terms of purchase before agreeing a rate with an exporter.

4. Representation. Almost invariably a first-time importer will need some kind of representation, normally in the form of a freight forwarder. Freight forwarders act as intermediary agents between the importer and exporter. They will act on your behalf to complete customs formalities, organise transportation, and troubleshoot any potential issues or hidden costs before they occur. It is always worth at least talking to a freight forwarder before agreeing to buy goods from abroad, if only to ensure you have comprehensively covered your expenses, duties, insurance and transportation and have not missed anything out. Although using a forwarding agent will carry a cost, they will often save the importer money in the long run as they will often command cheaper transportation costs through economy of scale.

Failure or Success?

Over 95% of all people who try to make money on the internet fail. This is an incredibly high number, don’t you think so? And that with all those “guaranteed” money machines out there.

So what is the problem? Why do most people fail while others make fortunes online? The answer is very simple. It’s all about “stick-to-itiveness”.

But let me explain it in more detail. Therefore we have to digress to offline businesses. Have you ever heard of anyone opening a shop in the city center and closing in up again after just one week to move on to the next business opportunity because there were not enough customers showing up during the first seven days? I am sure you haven’t, because people do plan and execute offline businesses differently.

They have an idea, they do some market research, the look for suppliers, they rent a shop, they do some advertising, they have an opening party, etc. And after all the time and effort that they have invested they stick to it and work hard to make their new venture a success. Offline entrepreneurs just don’t give up if their business is not in the profit zone after the first week.

But what happens on the internet? Your inbox flashes an offer of a “completely done for you automated money machine”. You click on the link and watch their sales video which is really very convincing with all those account statements proofing that the system can generate thousands of dollars. So you buy into their program. You go through the tutorials – but usually not in-depth – and you set up your system; if you do… Because this is already the first big challenge. Though everybody promises a “copy-and-paste” system, it is not always that easy and many people already give up at this point. But let’s pretend that you have set up your system. In the “business blueprint” that they sold you it all sounded so very simple: copy, paste, and drive traffic.

But there you have the next challenge. Unfortunately it is not that easy to generate high converting traffic for your offer, especially if you are new to the internet business. So you do not bank your first $800 in your first week as promised by the seller of the money-making-system. By the way: Nobody really promises that you will make a certain amount of money with their system. It’s all just marketing. Just have a look at their disclaimer!

Anyway, we have reached the crucial point here. If the money does not start to roll in as expected, all those new “fail-proof” offers in our inbox get just too tempting. And you buy the next make-money-fast program that sounds still better than the first.

I actually believe that in the end, you can make money with every single one of those systems. Better still, if you set up an ethical, “real” internet business, selling true value to your customers. There are hundreds of different ways to make money online and most of them will work (unless they are scam). Just take a decision for ONE money-making-method and stick to it, until this business is in the profit zone. Then you can move on and start a second venture in another field to diversify your income streams.

So if you finally want to start making money online, all you have to do is to develop that stick-to-itiveness that all offline entrepreneurs have.

Top 7 Time-Saving Tools To Supercharge Your Social Media Marketing WITHOUT Adding To Your Workload!

With all of the hard work it takes to get your business up, running, and profitable, it’s no wonder why so many entrepreneurs struggle to find the time to maintain their social media presence.

That’s why I’ve invested in figuring out little social media “hacks” – tools and methods I can use to maintain my presence, grow my followers, and make money with social media WITHOUT actually adding to my workload each day.

In this article you are going to discover 7 of those time-saving social media tools:

1) Tweet Adder – With this piece of software, you can automate sending Direct Messages to new Twitter followers (a great way to offer your followers free gifts for following you on Twitter, thereby building your list in a completely automated way). You can also quickly and easily generate lists of relevant people to follow without ever having to log in to the Twitter platform. Easy peasy!

2) Pay With a Tweet – With this piece of software, you can offer followers an alternative to opting in with their name/email address. Instead, they can “pay with a tweet”(they tweet a message out on their Twitter profile, and in exchange, you give them access to your offer). I like to use this to kill 2 birds with one stone: adding value to my list, and building my list. The way this is done is by only allowing existing newsletter subscribers the option to pay with a tweet. When your subscribers send their tweets out, the tweets will contain a link leading back to a landing page which DOES require an opt in. So anyone who clicks from their tweet is then required to opt in to the mailing list, thereby growing your list (again, without any added work)!

3) Meet Edgar – The typical social media scheduling softwares that entrepreneurs use (ie. Hoot Suite and Sprout Social) still require quite a bit of manual work because you have to enter the days and times that the posts go out for each profile. You also can’t re-use content automatically (you have to actually re-enter it in the system). With Meet Edgar, you can load in a bunch of content in bulk and let Edgar choose when to schedule them. And, the more content you post, the smarter Edgar gets (so if a certain post is getting a lot of traction, Edgar will re-use it automatically to help increase engagement on your pages). Love it!

4) Fan of the Week – This app is a great way to show some love for you most active fans on your Facebook fan pages. Each week, the software evaluates which of your fans was the most engaging on your profile, and will reward the fan by announcing them as the “Fan of the Week”. This is an easy and automated way to keep your followers happy!

5) Hub Spot Blog Topic Generator – One of the most challenging parts about social media is coming up with stuff to post about. This includes coming up with blogs to syndicate on your social media. With this tool, you can enter in a couple words related to what you want to write about, and it will generate a list of blog topic ideas for you.

6) Canva – Unless you’re a graphic designer, creating branded graphics for your social media posts can be a pain in the neck (and if you hire people to do it for you, it can cost a pretty penny). I’m techy, but I’m not a designer, so what I do instead is use Canva to create my social media graphics. I customize their Free Layouts with my brand colors, images of myself, and quotes or messages that would resonate with my followers.

7) WooBox – This one’s pretty neato, because you can do quite a lot with it: Contests, Coupons, Quizzes, Polls, Social Media Landing Pages, and more. But the social media “hack” and time saver feature they one that allows you to set it up so that whatever you post on your Fan Page automatically posts to your Twitter. Now, the downside of this is that your content on these platforms is the same (so why should someone bother to follow you on Twitter?) and if you post a longer post, it’ll show up weird on Twitter. But, if you’re super strapped for time, keep the length of your posts in mind, and set up another means for why people should follow you on Twitter (ie. giving followers a unique freebie for Twitter followers only, using Tweet Adders Direct Messaging feature mentioned in #1), then it’s totally worth it.

Armed with these 7 social media tools, you will be able to build a following of fans who love you without having to sacrifice hours each day to coming up with content, creating posts, and thinking of ways to create engagement. (woohoo!)

We Really Are All Connected

Have you seen that YouTube video with the cat using the iPad? It’s hilarious to watch.

And it tells a revealing story about how the world is changing for your business.

Right now, there are more people in the world with mobile subscriptions than there are people who have access to electricity. Isn’t that incredible?

The thing is, we are all hyperconnected these days. Even the most techno-phobic have smartphones.

At work and at home, chances are that you are using integrated devices that let you do multiple things from just one small digital tool. It’s becoming a one-screen world.

I’m no techno-genius. As my team knows, you’ve got to explain things to me simply. Still, my iPad has become my main tool at home for almost every digital connection.

Even if your business is more bricks-and-mortar than digital, this still affects you.

Why? Because this new world isn’t really about technology. It’s about connection.

The statement, we are all connected, doesn’t just have a spiritual meaning. It’s really coming true in the digital world.

The good news is, you can continue to look at this huge shift from the point of view of marketing fundamentals. If you do, you’re in good shape.

So what does this untethered hyper-connectivity mean for your brand and your business?

1. Know who your people are. The people you sell to may not shift over time, but the world does, and the people in them change their practices. This revolutionary new world of the integrated one-screen means you have more opportunities to have conversations and interactions online.

2. Go where your people are. It does no good to market to people where they are not hanging out. People are spending more and more time on devices, so help them find you by being there too. A great starting point is to make sure that your website is mobile-friendly. The same for your newsletter and whatever else you use to connect with your audience on a regular basis.

3. Tell a great story. Great marketing is about great stories. If you create a story that engages people at the deepest emotional level, you could go viral with your message. There’s an opportunity for far more reach than we’ve ever had.

4. It’s all about connection. Connect with your community by finding ways to interact with them. Passive approaches like ads and coupons aren’t as powerful anymore. Active approaches like online dialog are.

In this one-screen world, in-person connection is not your only avenue for letting people know the value you offer (my definition of marketing). The digital world not only expands the number of people you can reach directly. It also expands your reach to the people who know those people.

Even if you read this and get scared or overwhelmed, it’s OK. You don’t have to make shifts all at once. Just be aware of what is changing, and start thinking about what that could mean for your business.

It’s never been a better time for you to get the word out about what you offer. Help people find you by connecting with them where they are in a meaningful way.

We really are all connected.