Dallas Business Consultant Elijah ClarkDallas Business Consultant Elijah Clark

Organizing your business online

Your time is one of your most precious commodities as a small business owner, so make sure it’s organized with time tracking and scheduling.

You should look to reduce your tasks by improving your email workflow, managing your reading list, and keeping your notes, passwords, and desktop organized.

This is easier for a large business and a huge budget — and hundreds (or thousands) of employees — plus plenty of time to dedicate to staying organized.

But even as a small business strapped for cash and with no or only a few employees, you have to find a way to stay organized to remain productive and successful.

I know the pain of fighting desperately against the disorganization that affects every small business.

And I know that even if you’re using the best tools to grow your business, success can lag if you aren’t putting the right things in place to make sure you’re growing.

If you’re running a social media marketing campaign on a budget, you need to reduce the time you’re spending keeping things online.

Business management

The key to successful management is to examine the marketplace environment and create profit opportunities that provide the potential growth and financial viability of the business.

Despite the importance of management, this area is often misunderstood and poorly implemented, primarily because people focus on the output rather than the process of management.

After looking at hundreds of small businesses and working on a number of them, I have seen certain patterns of conduct recur again and again that lead to eventual failure. If a company is in difficulty, it is almost always a management problem, scarcely ever bad luck.

A business operations manager has to act — and adjust. It’s a role suited for people who can be decisive while at the same time considering the overarching goals of the business and the needs of various stakeholders.

Once you have an idea of your business operations and how processes and systems flow, you can then begin implementing automation to handle your business marketing, operations, and customer service efforts.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is the most widely used statistics package for websites. It is used on more than half of the sites on the internet. One of the most powerful features is its ability to track the actions that users take on your website. This is the ‘goals’ feature. This means you can segment out the portion of traffic that did something on your site. The most popular use of this is to track lead collection on your site though contact forms.

Google Analytics offers information about user behavior that can be critical for your business. There are many reasons why you should be using Google Analytics. Some include:

– Measure your website’s performance
– See if your marketing efforts are working
– Divide users into different segments
– Optimize website pages to boost conversions

The first thing you’ll need to do is create a Google Analytics account and add a tracking code your website.

Getting leads from social media

Unfortunately, simply Liking a status update, photo, or video on your Page doesn’t make someone a lead. That type of action doesn’t indicate interest in your business or product.

On Facebook, there are two ways you can generate leads: direct leads and indirect leads.

Direct leads are generated by sharing content that links directly back to a form on your website where visitors can share information in exchange for an offer — whether that be an ebook, coupon, infographic, or any other piece of content. This form is housed on a landing page dedicated to that specific offer.

Indirect leads are generated by using Facebook on the path to conversion. For example, if you shared a blog post that had a call-to-action to a landing page at the bottom of the post, your initial Facebook share is helping direct visitors to that landing page.

One of the best ways to generate leads on Facebook is simply to send people directly to landing pages for lead-generating offers.

When you do this, make sure the offer has a compelling featured image that’s getting pulled into the Facebook post. To ensure Facebook pulls the right image from your blog post into your Facebook posts, you’ll need to first optimize the image size for Facebook and then add the proper open graph tags to your website.

Lead capture landing page

A lead capture page is a type of post-click landing page differentiated by an optimized lead capture form. This form allows you to collect leads for your respective offers and nurture them down your marketing funnel.

To be successful collecting leads, your capture pages need to have the right balance of “ask” and “reward.” The “ask” are the form fields you use, and the “reward” is the offer you’re promoting.

A lead capture page that asks visitors for irrelevant information to the offer is abandoned because a poorly-optimized lead capture form is one of the leading causes of post-click landing page friction. Ideally, your form should not ask for more than basic contact information on the user’s first interaction with your business.

For example, if you’re offering a more top-of-the-marketing-funnel resource such as a free ebook or webinar; your lead capture form should have no more than three form fields. Anything more and you risk scaring them away on your first interaction. You can create a more detailed form if you’re offering something such as a free trial or a product demonstration. The length of the form also depends on how far down your customers are in your funnel.

Using a CRM

A customer relationship management (or CRM) tool is the largest and fastest-growing enterprise application software category, and worldwide spending on CRMs is expected to reach USD $114.4 billion by the year 2027.

The CRM that I currently use is HubSpot, primarily because its free tier is perfect for what I need. They also have paid options, but unless if you’re making close to $1 million in sales, it has little benefits. I have also use Pipedrive, Salesforce, and Copper, but none top HubSpot for its price and performance. My recommendation is to try them all under a trial and see what works for what you need for your business.

A CRM system can give you a clear overview of your customers. You can see everything in one place — a simple, customizable dashboard that can tell you a customer’s history, the status of their orders, outstanding customer service issues, and more.

You can even choose to include information from their public social media activity — their likes and dislikes, what they are saying and sharing about you or your competitors.

Organizing your data

Businesses of all sizes—regardless of industry, product, or service—are facing an increasingly complex situation when it comes to managing all of their data. Customer data can be especially difficult to manage; yet, it’s the most important type of data that a business owns.

What you should do to effectively manage all of your customer data is to Implement a CRM. That being said, simply signing up for a new piece of software (or switching CRMs) is no guarantee for success.

To reduce risk of failure and maximize the impact of customer data, forward-thinking businesses take a strategic approach by proactively organizing and centralizing their customer data.

One of the most challenging aspects of managing customer data is knowing the right way to structure it.

Creating an email list

An accurate mailing list of current customers is a goldmine. These lists are important as they provide leads for generating sales, testing new products, and providing feedback.

An email list is simply a list of emails that businesses have gathered from visitors or customers that either selected or would like to receive information, updates, discounts, and other details about your business in a digital format that is sent to their email inbox.

Email marketing is the best way to connect with customers. In fact, email is 40 times more effective at acquiring new customers than Facebook or Twitter.

To take advantage of connecting with customers through your compiled email lists, you need to work on email list building, which is the act of getting more people to subscribe to your emails. The more you encourage visitors to subscribe to your email, the stronger your email list will be.

Cleaning your email list of leads

I recommend cleaning your email list every three months to start. Think of it as your quarterly cleaning. As your list gets bigger, shorten the intervals between scrubbings to keep up with the increase in volume.

In addition to setting specific timeframes for email list cleaning, you should also watch out for red flags that indicate your list is getting a bit bloated.

For example, your Open Rates Are Lower Than Ever. A low open rate suggests that many of your subscribers don’t want to read your marketing messages. There are many reasons that this happens; they may have selected another provider, already bought your product, or simply don’t need the service any longer. However, the reason doesn’t matter because you can’t control it. But, you can limit the fallout by cleaning your email list.

Before You Start Cleaning Your List, Check for Hard and Soft Bounces. There are two types of bounces in email marketing: soft and hard. A soft bounce indicates a temporary deliverability issue. Your email service should attempt to send the email again, and it will most likely go through.

Hard bounces, however, are bounces that never go through. The email address is wrong, the domain no longer exists, or the email server has blocked delivery.

Many email services will automatically clean hard bounces. Others will force you to clean your list to get rid of addresses.

Should you purchase leads?

‘Buying leads’ is when you use a provider’s database to purchase leads that match your buyer criteria.

Sounds like a winning situation, right? While you’ll meet those target numbers and have plenty to work with, it’s important to remember that nothing is perfect.

However, 68% of businesses are struggling with lead generation, so it makes sense that purchasing lists is still a common practice for generating leads.

In order to survive (and thrive), every business needs a steady stream of new leads, which will keep you busy and help to push your revenues higher.

Finding new leads isn’t always an easy task. To uncover them, businesses must adopt a range of lead generation techniques, and they’ll absolutely have to know when to buy leads, and how. It’s often essential to the very survival of their business.

So if you’re planning to purchase a lead list, don’t feel ashamed about it. It happens. It is important that you understand, however, exactly what you’re getting yourself into. In order to get the most value from your list, you’ll need a clear and concise plan for the data once you obtain it.

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