Author Archive: Mabel

Top 5 Things to Consider When Starting a Business from Home

Starting an online business from home is an extremely tempting idea with many enticing perks – choose your hours, ditch your hour-long commute for a commute to your living room, and more! But before you decide to ‘lock-in’ the idea, there are probably several questions lingering in your mind about what kind of home-based business you’d like to try. Well, continue reading because we will address your concerns so that by the end of the article, you will be closer to deciding to start your home business. 

Before You Get Started

It’s essential to be aware that there are many different options and a variety of different areas when it comes to starting a successful business from home. Furthermore, it is also important to find the type of business that fits best with your skillset; this will make it so much easier to put in the hours and enjoy running your online business. 

Thirdly, and something that we certainly can’t recommend enough is the creation of a business plan. Your business plan is the blueprint and foundation of your business, and building without foundation will yield shaky and unstable results. As you continue to read further into this article,  we will share some vital information that you should include in your business plan.

The Top Five Things To Consider 

1.   Your Talents and Skills

Let’s start by assessing your talents and skills; take a piece of paper and start writing down a list of things that you are good at and enjoy. Go ahead and write as many as you wish, and don’t worry about listing too many, as we will narrow down your ideas later on. Also, don’t be afraid to ask close friends and family for their contributions to the list too, second opinions are convenient after all. This list is crucial because you will use this list to decide which of your talents and skills you can use for your online business.

Sure, you can ignore this step and pick a random business idea and run with it, but chances are if you choose something that you enjoy doing, which you also happen to be good at, you will excel quicker and your home-based business will be more successful.

2.   Generate Business Ideas

Now that you have a list of things that you enjoy doing and you are good at, it’s time to decide which talents you’re going to utilize for your business. To properly do this, we should first look at some of the best home businesses and then decide where your talents are best suited.

Online videos

Think about the last time you watched a video online on YouTube; for example, there was probably an ad somewhere in the video which you either choose to skip or watch. These ads are placed there as a monetization strategy. 

When ad revenue is generated from the audience clicking on the advertisement, the author of the video gets a sizable cut as commission.  Do any of your talents make for good entertainment? If so, then here’s one option – create entertaining videos and monetize them with ads!

Affiliate Marketing

If you like the idea of promoting products and services, whether it’s through an article, product review, or comparison, you might want to consider affiliate marketing. Getting started with affiliate marketing is easy! You don’t need an inventory, start-up costs are marginal at most, and there are plenty of affiliate partnership opportunities out there. All you need is a website, YouTube channel or social media following, and an affiliate partnership. When you promote your partner’s product or service, and it results in a successful sale or conversion, you’ll get a cut as commission. 

Blogging

If you enjoy sharing your unique perspective in the form of engaging, informative, and entertaining written content, then blogging is the right kind of online business for you. As a blogger, you’ll create your blogging website, and keep it up to date with regular content. You’re probably wondering how you can make money from blogging? There are several methods you can use to monetize your blog – you can utilize affiliate marketing to generate commission on potential sales. You may also apply online advertising to get ad revenue from prospective clicks.

Dropshipping

Dropshipping is a supply chain management method and business type where the retailer does not keep a physical inventory. Orders are redirected to a manufacturer or wholesaler who ships the purchased goods directly to the customer. 

The great thing about dropshipping is its low barrier to entry – given that you don’t need an inventory, all you need to do to set up this type of business is to build a website and pay for marketing. You have to expect low-profit margins and high-volume competition unless you’re lucky enough to find a niche with low saturation. If you do decide to pursue this route, we recommend you do your due diligence and thoroughly research your niche, direct competition, and suppliers.  

Information Products

Digital Information Products can come in different forms, including video, audio, and books. The great thing about this home business type is that it sells information, not physical goods. Therefore you have unlimited ‘stock’ and complete control over your supply chain. This business type should be particularly appealing if you already have a working body of knowledge or expertise in a kind of subject matter. 

In essence, chances are, there will be a sizable audience of interested people willing to pay for your expert knowledge. If you decide to go this route, you may want to consider creating a website and populating it with content such as how-to guides, manuals, podcasts, video tutorials, courses, and more. At the moment, online courses are particularly lucrative. E-learning has exploded in popularity and demand over the last years. If you’re looking for a recommendation, this is the way to go.

3.   Is Your Idea Suitable for a Home-based Business?

You have already made your list of strengths, interests, and business ideas and reviewed some online business models. The next step is figuring out which business model you want to utilize. While your talents and skills could result in a lucrative business, they might not work for every online business. 

It is, therefore, imperative that you ask yourself the crucial question – “Will this idea translate into a successful online business?”.  Say you are considering online videos, think about where in your home you can shoot these videos; Do you have privacy? Are you sharing a room with flatmates? You must critique your ideas and ask yourself questions to determine whether your ideas could become viable online businesses.

4.   Calculating Time, Profits and Costs. 

Let’s be real; you want to start a company to make money, so you need to consider all the elements that will go into the business to make it profitable. Firstly, you need to consider start-up costs. Some companies have a high start-up cost, while others have none. Decide on what you can afford to spend before starting your business, to narrow down the more financially feasible options. 

Secondly, always keep in mind that at the beginning of your business, profits won’t be optimal, but eventually, with work and dedication, you will be able to increase them gradually. There are several ways you can maximize your profits from your online business. Find out what people are willing to pay for your product. Factor in how much time it will take you to produce your product and how much resources will cost. If the amount of net income is sufficient enough to hit your target goal, then go ahead. 

5.   Make a Business Plan

Now you have an idea of possible business ideas and what ones might work for you, you might feel ready to go ahead and create your business. Before you go and do that, ensure that you have created a business plan. A good business plan will keep your business strategy aligned with your goals while assuring you move forward. It keeps you on track and outlines the steps you must employ to achieve your objectives. Creating a business plan might seem stressful and time-consuming, but it doesn’t have to be. You can create a simple business plan, as long as you include the following:

  • Business overview – a full description of your business.
  • Operational plans – an explanation of how your business will function. 
  • Market analysis – a summary of your target audience and research into the competition. 
  • Sales and marketing – outlines of your expected sales and marketing strategy. 
  • Financial plan – overview of start-up and ongoing expected expenses. 

Take a Leap of Faith 

Choosing the right business idea is more complicated than it seems, and even with a solid business plan and ample amounts of research and preparation, the idea of running an online home business may still seem uncertain and shaky.  

Keep in mind that no business is sure to be a success and will always come with inherent risk. With adequate research and preparation, you can reduce this risk and maximize your chances of having a successful online business. After careful consideration, the next step is to have faith. You deserve to do something you enjoy and be able to make money while doing it, so take that leap of faith, and don’t be afraid to be successful. 

5 Steps to Success Using Free Social Media Marketing Platforms

Social media platforms are amazing digital marketing tools. Better yet, you can optimize the use of these platforms to help grow your business without it costing you anything at all. Read on if you want to know the five steps to success using social media platforms. 

Social media marketing can be challenging at first, especially if you have little experience. These five simple steps will guide you on how to create a strategy successfully, yielding a high return on your time and work. 

Step 1: S.M.A.R.T. Goals 

As with any project, it is crucial to have a plan. It will ensure you stay on track and keep organized. Follow the S.M.A.R.T. Goal Setting strategy to help outline your targets and goals. See below for a practical example. 

  • Specific 

Your goals need to be as specific as possible. Avoid setting goals such as “be successful,” which are too vague. Instead, your goals should provide a crystal clear picture of what your expectations are, and what exactly you want to achieve. 

“To increase online sales by 5% in 60 days using affiliate links on Facebook” is a good example of a specific goal. It describes exactly what you want to achieve.

  • Measurable

Is your goal measurable? You must be able to determine if you have reached your goal or not. Often, a goal can be measured using a target or a number. 

“To reach 1000 Instagram followers in 3 months” is an excellent example of a measurable goal. You can say, “yes, we reached 1000 Instagram followers in three months” or “No, we missed our target by 20%, reaching only 800”.  

  • Attainable

Your goals need to be realistic and achievable. Out of reach goals can be frustrating and demotivating. An ideal goal makes you stretch out to your fullest potential, but are focused on facts and realistic expectations. 

“To reach 500 Twitter followers by the end of the month” is an excellent example of an attainable goal. It is much more likely to succeed if you are just starting, compared to trying to reach 1 million followers in the same time frame. 

  • Relevant

Your social media marketing goal needs to align with your overall marketing goal. Are you attempting to build an audience or to increase traffic to your website? Ensure your social media goal relates to the bigger picture, and that you have a clear understanding of how attaining your goal will benefit the business. 

If the overall goal is to increase research and development, “Engage with 10 customers a month on facebook and instagram about different issues they may be experiencing, for three months” is an excellent example of a relevant goal. This will directly influence your research and development.  

  • Timely

Give yourself a timeline to be accountable for your goals. Stay on track by breaking up a large project into smaller segments and milestones, each with their respective deadlines. 


“Achieve 10 retweets in 20 days” is an excellent example of a timely goal, as it states precisely in how long the target should be achieved. 

Step 2: Identify Your Target Audience 

Identifying who is your target audience is a crucial step in becoming a successful social media marketer! For your marketing strategies to be effective, they need to be explicitly designed for who you intend to reach.

A right way of identifying your target audience is by determining their essential characteristics such as: 

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Job
  • Income 
  • Interests 
  • Struggles
  • Which social media platforms they hang out most on 
  • When are they are most likely to be on these platforms  

Defining these characteristics allows you to create a clearly outlined buyer’s persona. 

Here are three smart ways of obtaining insightful information about your target audience. 

  1. Review happy clients

Study customers who are satisfied with your product or service. Find out who they are, what industry they are part of, their demographic, and their goals, to better understand who you should be targeting. 

  1. Discover the pain points

What question does your product or service answer, or what problem does it solve? How does it make your customer’s life easier? You will truly grasp the value your company brings to consumers when you understand how you help solve a problem.

  1. Survey Customer Support

Communication with the people who are in direct contact with your consumers is vital. You should figure out what kind of feedback you’re receiving and what kind of questions the company gets the most. Knowing this information can help you create content more attractive to your audience. 

Step 3: Valuable and Creative Content 

The third step, and likely the most important one, is creating good quality content! Social media content exists in so many forms, such as images, videos, blog posts, webinars, news, infographics, e-books, interviews, and more. 

Ideally, you want your content to be a mix of varied forms dedicated to different purposes like driving traffic to your blog, increasing sales, improving lead generation, etc. Your content should not focus strictly on sales, as it will eventually drive your audience away. Instead, it should include relevant industry information, news and information about the company, and even curated content from other sources by different writers.   

The key is to deliver excellent content continually- never stop! Only a couple of pictures here and there, or a short blog whenever you have time, will not suffice. In order to keep your audience engaged, your content needs on-going nurturing and updating. Yes, it can be challenging and time consuming to continuously create high quality content! Find inspiration by researching what your competition or similar companies are sharing, and discover what your audience is interested in. 

Step 4: Testing and Metrics 

Although content itself is critical, determining if the content being shared on social media is effective is crucial! Especially at first, social media marketing relies on a certain amount of trial and error. 

By studying analytics and keeping track of results, you can identify what strategies are working best for you. And what needs to be modified. After all, you cannot improve something you cannot measure. Here are some metrics to consider: 

  • Followers

Tracking the total number of newly acquired followers after a campaign, and comparing it to your goal, is the right way of determining its success. Accessible and engaging social media accounts are continually acquiring new followers. 

  • Likes / Shares / Comments

You can measure your audience’s engagement through their posts and what they share from their accounts. Also, receiving re-tweets, or that your posts are being shared, commented on, and liked, is a positive sign. Pinpoint which types of content yield the best response from your audience.

  • Clicks

Studying your click metrics will demonstrate how your social media efforts are starting to drive sales. Were there many clicks to your blog or website as a result of your last post? The ability to draw more visitors into your sales funnel is what determines the success of your social media marketing efforts. 

  • Downloads

If your post ignites a reaction from your audience, they may find themselves on your landing page. Here is where they can download the content of higher value, like an e-book, or fill out a contact form. Is your content leading them to this point? At this stage, followers are at the cusp of becoming paying customers.  

  • Leads

Leads are the metric that will tell you most about our social media marketing efforts! Successful social media marketing will ultimately increase your total number of qualified leads. This process may take longer, as it takes time to convert followers and especially newcomers into leads. 

Step 5: Create a Social Media Schedule 

The last step to using social media successfully for your marketing is creating a social media schedule. You need to decide when you want to share your content, and it cannot just be when you feel like it! It is essential to have a structured plan and schedule to ensure consistency. For more tips like these about social media marketing, make sure you check out https://OnlineAcademy.com.

Create a content calendar and posting schedule, outlining how often you will post to each network, what topics, and when exactly you intend on sharing. An excellent place to start is to assess when your audience is most likely to be on social media, and then decide in advance what kind of content you will share. To make it easier, make use of social media management tools that allow you to create posts in advance and automatically upload them at a desired date and time.

Conclusion

Social media platforms are ideal for online marketing your business at no additional cost. Also, these platforms are used by the majority of the population; if you are not yet utilizing them for your business, this is what you should be doing! Whether you choose to focus just on Facebook marketing or instead use other platforms like Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, or Snapchat, follow these tips for successful social media marketing, and you will have a killer online presence!

Inbound Vs. Outbound Lead Generation

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re missing out on a lot of potential income and opportunity for your business. Why? Let me tell you. You might not be using Lead Generation strategies to their fullest potential, or you might have the wrong type. 

Luckily for you, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’re going to explain, in-depth, what Lead Generation is, and the two types of lead generation that you should utilize. We will then weigh up their pros and cons so you can make an informed decision about your next strategic steps.  

What is Lead Generation?

You can define lead generation as the process of stimulating and cultivating interest in a product or service to generate potential revenue. Often this is done by a specific conversion (action), such as signing-up, subscribing, purchasing something, etc. As soon as someone becomes interested in what you’re selling, the first step in your sales cycle should be taken by your visitor, turning them into a lead. A lead is a potential customer that is interested in your goods or services. And to get these potential customers, marketing techniques are utilized. 

Why is Lead Generation important?

If your business is not actively trying to cultivate and stimulate interest in your goods and services, then you are missing out. Having an “if you build it, they will come” mentality will stifle your business’s ability to grow and adapt. Especially in eras such as mass-advertising, where you’re trying to be ‘heard’ through the noise, this is essential. Every business needs customers to grow and needs to engage in marketing to get customers; this is where lead generation comes in.  

How is Lead Generation done?

There are many ways to conduct lead generation – cold calling, email marketing campaigns, SEO, blogging, advertising, the use of lead magnets, social media marketing, and more. These tactics generally fall into two categories, Inbound and Outbound Lead Generation. Each of these categories has its pros and cons, which we will discuss below. Keep reading. 

Inbound Lead Generation 

Inbound Explained

Inbound Lead Generation is a relatively new way of generating leads, which overtime is taking over some severe ground from outbound generation.  You can define ‘Inbound Lead Generation’ as the use of customer-centric marketing tactics to draw potential leads to your website and convert them into leads. What do we mean by “customer-centric”?  Customer-centric can be two things: 

  1. A type of lead generation that ensures value in the form of content and knowledge given to the potential customer to gain trust and build relationships. 
  2. The second explanation is that this type of lead generation allows potential customers to choose the time and platform for engagement. If they wish to engage at all. 

Pros of Inbound Campaigns

Builds trust and establishes long term relationships

Arguably, inbound lead generation’s greatest strength is the ability to build trust and long-term relationships. Given the focus on being customer-centric, inbound campaigns dispel potential distrust and notions ‘greedy ulterior motives’ that they may think advertisers harbor. It is a non-invasive way of generating leads. Therefore, it establishes a fertile ground on which you can build trust and grow fruitful relationships.

The resulting boons are loyal repeat-customers who are more likely to engage in pseudo-referral marketing by sharing the ‘good word’ about your business and a strong reputation to present to new prospective leads. 

It is more cost-effective 

Most of the expenses involved in inbound marketing campaigns are time-related and go towards producing informative and valuable content. While some inbound tactics may cost a small amount of money, e.g., some SEO techniques like guest posting or paying someone to create content, these costs can be mitigated or wiped entirely. Furthermore, the content you create is permanent and can be reused over and over again, and on several different platforms at once. Given the permanence of your content, inbound campaigns can last indefinitely; it is a long term investment.

Cons of Inbound Campaigns

Reactive and passive

With inbound campaigns, instead of actively engaging and seeking prospective leads, you take a passive and responsive approach. If customers are interested in what you have to offer, they will come. Otherwise, they will move on. With this strategy, the number and kind of perspectives you obtain is out of your hands; this might cause leads that aren’t very effective for your business, which can lead to a lower conversion rate in the long term. 

Slower way to build revenue and customer base

The rate at which you grow your customer base and leads will also be significantly slower than in outbound marketing. By sitting and waiting for your leads to come to you, you are relying heavily on the effectiveness of your lead magnets. If your lead magnets are not attractive enough or valuable enough to prospective leads, then your customer base may not grow at all! The slower your customer base grows, the slower and thinner the stream of potential revenue you obtain will be. 

Outbound Lead Generation

Outbound Explained 

Outbound Lead Generation, otherwise known as “interruption marketing” or “interruption lead generation,” consists of directly and deliberately targeting individuals with a message or call, whereby the marketer determines the type and timing of the interaction as opposed to the prospect. Compared to inbound marketing, outbound marketing is more traditional, utilizing direct channels such as email, calling, radio/TV advertisements, and billboards. Outbound marketing requires a strong knowledge of your target demographic, including their responses and incentives to be successful, and to avoid potential pitfalls. 

Pros of Outbound Campaigns

Proactive, direct, and deliberate

Outbound marketing campaigns take an active, direct, and intentional approach, as opposed to the passive ‘sit and wait’ approach that inbound marketing uses. When it comes to this type of marketing, marketers will comprehensively research their target demographic and find prospective leads that align perfectly with the profile. The result of this direct and deliberate targeting is a list of ideal leads who’s needs and interests align with what goods and services you offer. This alignment, in turn, drastically increases the rate of potential conversions.

Quickly build revenue and customer base

With this approach, you won’t be sitting behind your computer, waiting for a prospect to take action. Instead, you will start getting leads as soon as you start reaching out. It is especially beneficial for new businesses that have not yet established a customer base, or companies that are looking to expand their customer base rapidly. You’ll be able to offset initial business costs and give your business a good head-start for the road ahead with a solid customer base to back it. 

Furthermore, after having established a customer base, you’ll be able to safely and more reliably transition to Inbound marketing to take a more long term and cost-efficient approach to generating new leads.

Cons of Outbound Campaigns

Costs more

When it comes to Outbound Marketing Campaigns, you must spend money to make money. Whether you’re paying for direct advertising, influencer marketing, physical advertisements such as pamphlets or billboards, or paying people to engage in cold calling, the costs of such will quickly begin to ramp up. You must conduct careful calculations, take into account the costs of marketing, and the expected return on investment. Next, you should research the demographics thoroughly, and your marketers must also be well versed in what they’re doing. If you neglect these factors, the costs may quickly burn through the roof of your business. 

Can be intrusive and annoying for customers

One of Outbound Lead Generation’s most significant strengths also happens to be one of its most significant weaknesses. While active, direct, and deliberate targeting of prospective customers is an excellent way to quickly pull in leads (and the right type of leads), it’s also an effective way to be annoying and intrusive. Especially for those who are unreceptive to this style of marketing. If not done correctly, outbound lead generation runs the risk of alienating potential leads, sowing seeds of distrust, and harming the reputation of the business. 

Conclusion – Which one is best

Now that you’re aware of the benefits and drawbacks of both Inbound and Outbound marketing, it’s time to think about which marketing strategy best suits your business. As you may have guessed, there’s no magic formula – the marketing type that you pick will depend entirely upon your budget, your business goals and objectives, the level of maturity of your business, and the pros and cons of each marketing type. 

If you don’t have a lot of money to spend, you may want to consider inbound marketing. If you’re looking to expand your customer base rapidly, you may want to consider outbound marketing. If you have great content and an existing customer base, you can develop over time cost-effectively with Inbound marketing. Don’t forget that you are not limited to one marketing type, and you may combine approaches or switch from one to the other when it suits your business.