Secrets of Swagger Shows How to Craft a Distinctive Brand

The Chris Linder Thought You Might Be Interested… http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/SmallBusinessTrends/~3/ZFO3cx2Yw0E/secrets-of-swagger-book-review.html

Secrets of Swagger: Crafting a Distinctive BrandWritten by a business owner in the entertainment industry, Secrets of Swagger: How to Own Your Cool in Life and Business is a fun and bubbly guide to the playful side of branding. Drawing inspiration from the “cool” people in Hollywood, it highlights the power of confidence, creativity, character and communication in crafting a distinctive brand at the personal and business level.

What is Secrets of Swagger About?

There’s a long list of “shoulds” when it comes to brands. Your brand should be relevant. Your brand should be unique. Your brand should be consistent. “Cool” seems to be missing from the list, somehow. Business owners might need to revisit the idea, though, as author Randy Cohen explores in his new book, Secrets of Swagger. This book takes a look at the fundamental ingredients of cool (charisma, creativity and courage) and the final product — the celebrity bands of people like Lady Gaga, JFK, George Clooney, and Oprah Winfrey.

In short, integrate the book’s principles into your life and your brand just might be one of the cool kids.

Becoming “cool” isn’t as simple as it might sound, however. As Cohen details, becoming “cool” isn’t about appearing “cool”. It’s an authentic way of living and being. It’s also a balancing act between two or more opposing forces, such as confidence and humility. While balancing these forces, cool people create their own unique style that develops into a personal “swagger”. That “swagger” can be expressed differently, whether it’s the weirdly creative evolution of a Lady Gaga or the heart-warming and resilient style of an Oprah Winfrey.

For businesses or individuals trying to establish their images, having a “cool” brand adds another element of distinctiveness. Like the “cool kids” in school, cool brands have a way of receiving lots of attention. People like to be associated with cool. It makes them feel special and it makes them connect with others around your brand, growing your marketing at a viral rate without the constant need for marketing or promotion. Becoming “cool”, as the book summarizes, is a way for brands to break out of the “shoulds” in marketing and into the realm of “cool” in the eyes of your audience.

Cohen is an author, speaker, and the founder and Chief Energizing Officer (CEO) of TicketCity, an Austin-based ticket broker and online marketplace. Cohen founded TicketCity in 1990 as a student at the University of Texas with just $1,200.

What Was Best About Secrets of Swagger?

Secrets of Swagger energizes the conversation of branding with a fresh look at some of the world’s top celebrities, who also happen to be some of the world’s biggest brands. Most of us assume that the brand of these celebrities was cool by default, but Cohen shows readers a different side of the story. Cohen extracts lessons from each celebrity brand in the book to demonstrate the book’s main two points: Being “cool” is a proactive process. Being “cool” involves variety, not conformity.

What Could Have Been Done Differently?

Attempting to define “cool”, as Secrets of Swagger attempts to do, seems like an impossible task. After all, how do you define a “cool” brand? Instead of directly answering the “what is cool?” question, Secrets of Swagger takes a different approach. The book focuses on the fundamentals behind cool brands — mostly those belonging to celebrities. This is a noteworthy effort, as well as the book’s more down-to-earth examples from the author’s business (TicketCity). The definition of “cool”, as used in the book, is still a little vague. More case studies from businesses that embody “cool” might help make things more specific for readers.

Why Read Secrets of Swagger?

Secrets of Swagger offers a different and entertaining approach to the “branding” perspective. Instead of getting buried in marketing jargon and overly technical explanations, the book focuses on the basics: courage, charisma, communication, etc. These fundamentals are important, no matter what business you are in, and apply to every situation a business will encounter. Cohen takes a different approach to case studies as well, preferring to place attention on big-name celebrities who have become household brands. In doing so, Secrets of Swagger is able to show that personal and business branding both share the same struggles.

As a business or individual, your brand depends on perception and presentation. Your job, as a brand, is to present your best self to give your audience a very distinct perception. Gaining creating this perception requires the fundamentals that are shared in Secrets of Swagger.

This article, “Secrets of Swagger Shows How to Craft a Distinctive Brand” was first published on Small Business Trends

25 Basic Marketing Strategies for Beginners

The Chris Linder Thought You Might Be Interested… http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/SmallBusinessTrends/~3/KQO4isswtQY/basic-marketing-strategies.html

25 Basic Marketing Strategies for Beginners

Not every small business has a marketing budget like the bigger companies. More often than not, entrepreneurs don’t even have a lot of extra time to get the word out on their goods and services. These basic marketing strategies for novices have been designed to fill that gap.

Basic Marketing Strategies

Optimize Your Content

Keywords attract clients. They need to be placed in strategic locations in the text on your website. Make sure they work with the topics your customers are searching for.

Advertise Online

Facebook Ads and Google Ads work great. These are cheaper than print, television and radio and they appeal to a wider audience.

Develop a Call to Action

Tell people exactly what you want them to do when they visit your site. The right Call To Action coverts visitors to sales.

Write a Blog

You can share specials and planned events on a blog. These are a great way to market in your own voice.

Publish a Book

Writing a book and self publishing it positions you as an expert in the field. Many business people even sell these on their websites.

Define Your Competition

This is the best way to make sure what you offer is different than your rivals in the same market. Doing a little research is invaluable.

Start Tweeting

Social media is free. It’s one of the best basic marketing strategies available. Posting on Twitter helps you to engage with you target market.

Create an Email Campaign

Putting together an email marketing campaign gets you out in front of your target audience. Everyone on your list will see your email  message from in their inbox.

Use Facebook Ads

These help you to get out in front of a big audience. You can target these to a specific market for optimal effect.

Give Stuff Away

Free access to a report or blog is a value added way to turn visitors into clients. Whether you’re online or in a brick and mortar store, free stuff attracts customers.

Drop Your Price

If your competition is close in price to your product, dropping those numbers can increase your volume in sales and give you an advantage.

Streamline Your Brand

Take the time to research who’s buying your goods and services. Then funnel your branding efforts to language and visuals that they want.

Test Campaigns

Social media is a great place to monitor campaign results. Look at reactions to a Facebook page that’s linked to your latest campaign.

Create a Newsletter

Newsletters are quick and easy way to keep a mailing list up to date about new products and services. MailChimp is one of the more popular templates.

Include Images

These capture your reader’s attention and need to be included in posts and any website content you use for marketing. Get free images at places like Pixabay.

Run Contests

Engaging prospects is a great way to turn them into clients. A quiz, game or contest will grab the interest of visitors so you can get them on a mailing list.

Write Industry Articles

Becoming an expert in your industry is one of the best basic marketing strategies. Writing a series of articles for a trade publication positions  you as an expert and these can be serialized as blog posts for optimal effect.

Do a Podcast

Getting out in front of an audience by using your voice adds the personal touch that can make a sale. If you’re stuck at first you can start by just reading out your blog posts.

Organize a Webinar

These are another great way to personalize basic marketing strategies. A webinar that details how your product works is a great idea.

Launch a Website

Regardless of the goods or services you’re selling, having a website is a prerequisite. Find a developer that can implement you vision.

Issue Press Releases

Whether you want to get the word out on events or new products, press releases work great. Make sure the topics are newsy and not too advertorial.

Broadcast on YouTube

Video needs to be part of any basic marketing strategies. Make an instructional video and place it on your website to win over prospects.

Use Integrated Marketing

Leverage a live event by announcing it on social media. A live feed increases your exposure tenfold.

Limit Some Offers

The best basic marketing strategies can be traditional.  A limited time offer ramps up the scarcity of your goods and services.

Stress Customer Service

Give the people what they want. Stressing customer service creates a great reputation and buzz around your products.

Business Owners Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “25 Basic Marketing Strategies for Beginners” was first published on Small Business Trends

These Are the Best and Worst States to Start a Business in 2017

The Chris Linder Thought You Might Be Interested… http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/SmallBusinessTrends/~3/iU8ZYAMIU4Y/best-and-worst-states-to-start-a-business.html

These Are the Best and Worst States to Start a Business in 2017

What is the best state to start your new business. Is it a big city? A thriving suburb? A bustling little rural community?

How about North Dakota?

A new study carried out by WalletHub looked at 50 states using 20 key indicators to determine “2017’s Best and Worst States to Start a Business.” And it found North Dakota to be the state with the best business environment for startups.

The worst?

That dubious distinction belongs to the Garden State, New Jersey.

The Methodology

WalletHub deployed the services of eight distinguished professors from universities such as Colgate, DePaul, Georgetown, Purdue, and others, as well as an executive director at Babson College. These experts analyzed 50 states on three primary criteria: 1) Business Environment, 2) Access to Resources and 3) Business Costs.

A total of 20 relevant metrics were used to evaluate each state by the three criteria to come up with the results. A scoring method involving a 100-point scale was used, with 100 representing the best possible score.

The resources for the study came from a wide range of public and private organization, including the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and others.

The following key categories were highlighted by WalletHub, as they represent features people look for in establishing a business. The best in the list are the top five, while the worst are the bottom five.

Access to Financing

Access to finance through the different stages of a business will determine how far it goes.  States where access to financing was easier included North Dakota, Utah, Iowa, Mississippi, and West Virginia. States where access to financing is worst incude New Jersey, Florida, California, Nevada and Arizona.

Average Growth in Number of Small Businesses

Growth in small businesses is a good indicator of the overall economic environment in a particular city or state. The best business environments were found in North Dakota, Texas, Utah, Florida, and Nevada. The worst business environments were found in Ohio, Vermont, Alabama, New Mexico, and West Virginia.

Labor Cost

The cost for labor accounts for a considerable percentage of the operational budget for a business. The lower the cost, the higher the profits. Mississippi, Arkansas, West Virginia, Alabama and Kentucky had the lowest labor cost. Hawaii, Connecticut, New Jersey, Alaska and Maryland on the other hand had the highest.

Cheapest Office Space

Like labor cost, office space takes a huge chunk of operating expenses in may businesses. You will get the best price in Iowa, Maine, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Minnesota. New Jersey, Maryland, California, Alaska, and New York on the other hand will be the most expensive.

Most Educated Population

The education of the labor force for any particular location will greatly determine the type of business you can open. If you are in Massachusetts, Colorado, Maryland, Connecticut, and New Jersey you will have access to the most educated people. Louisiana, Kentucky, Arkansas, Mississippi, and West Virginia on the other hand have the least educated populations, the study says.

Overall Ranking of the Best and Worst States to Start a Business

The overall ranking along with the scores are as follows:

Best

  1. North Dakota – 69.38 points
  2. Texas – 59.33 points
  3. Utah – 57.32 points
  4. Oklahoma – 56.80 points

Worst

  1. Hawaii – 38.51 points
  2. Rhode Island – 38.41 points
  3. Maryland – 37.86 points
  4. New Hampshire – 34.68 points
  5. New Jersey – 34.54 points

Many different factors go into opening a business. The new WalletHub study gives you data points you can use to make a more informed decision to start or move a business.

Buffalo Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “These Are the Best and Worst States to Start a Business in 2017” was first published on Small Business Trends

Small Business Wages Are Going Up, But Jobs Going Down, Study Finds

The Chris Linder Thought You Might Be Interested… http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/SmallBusinessTrends/~3/xSuHETwY1xM/june-2017-small-business-employment-statistics.html

June 2017 Small Business Employment Statistics

A recent report focused exclusively on small business has found wages from jobs at small businesses are going up nationally, but the amount of jobs is going down.

The report by Paychex, a payroll, human resource, insurance and benefits outsourcing solutions provider for small-to medium-sized businesses, and IHS Markit, a provider of critical information, analytics and expertise, shows a Small Business Jobs Index at its lowest level since late 2011.

June 2017 Small Business Employment Statistics

According to the Small Business Employment Watch compiled by the two companies, the Small Business Jobs Index that provides monthly insight into the small business employment trends driving the U.S. economy decreased 0.24 percent to 100.10 in June. June marked four consecutive months of decline in small business job growth, with a continued increase in wages.

“Small business job gains have slowed, consistent with tightening labor markets,” said James Diffley, chief regional economist at IHS Markit in a press statement announcing the study findings. “Wage gains continue at a moderate pace, up 2.88 percent from last year.”

Some of the wage gains can be attributed to recent minimum wage increases taking effect across the nation, including in California, New York and Seattle. Ongoing Senate spar over minimum wage legislation has also been cited as having an impact on jobs going down and wages increasing.

“Over the past month we’ve seen continued uncertainty as it relates to legislative policies that stand to impact small businesses,” said Martin Mucci, Paychex president and CEO. “The decline in this month’s index and modest growth in wages seem to reflect an unclear regulatory picture combined with a narrowing labor market.”

Paychex drew from the payroll data of approximately 350,000 of its clients to prepare the report. It analyzed national employment and wage trends, as well as state, regional, metro, and industry sector trends.

Image: Paychex

This article, “Small Business Wages Are Going Up, But Jobs Going Down, Study Finds” was first published on Small Business Trends

How to Make Sure Your Business is Mobile-friendly for Google

The Chris Linder Thought You Might Be Interested… http://www.noobpreneur.com/2017/06/30/how-to-make-sure-your-business-is-mobile-friendly-for-google/

If you haven’t optimised your website for mobile users then you are losing out on potential customers. Nowadays nearly everyone uses a smartphone or tablet to browse the internet: some… Read more »

(c) Noobpreneur.com

Making content part of your marketing mix

The Chris Linder Thought You Might Be Interested… http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/TheMarketingMinute/~3/xtaJ-L5MjwU/content.html

ContentPick up any business magazine, read a marketing blog or attend a conference and you’re going to get the message that you must have a content strategy.  Truth be told – this is nothing new. There’s always been a marketing strategy that emphasized the production of helpful tools/information that taught prospects something of value to earn their trust and a thought leadership position.

What is “new” today is that every company has the capacity to be a publisher and information portal via their own website, blog, social networking pages etc. It used to be difficult and expensive to do and today, it’s neither.

In fact, most companies already have the distribution channels (Facebook page, Twitter account, website, e-newsletter, etc.) in place.  They just do a lousy job of using the tools at hand. For most businesses, these channels don’t get very much attention and they either languish from lack of relevant content or even worse, they become a brag book for their own accomplishments, awards, clients won, etc.  They’re either dormant or so narcissistic that no one pays any attention and really, who can blame them?

Before you can determine what kind of team or structure you’d need internally, you need to decide if you should even be creating content (my bias is yes, but it’s still a discussion that needs to be held) and if so – why?  What are the business outcomes that are driving the decision?  When done well, content marketing can drive qualified leads, shorten the sales cycle, generate new and repeat sales, reinforce a current client’s buying decision and create PR opportunities, just to name a few outcomes.

Once you’re clear about what you’re trying to accomplish, you need to identify your audience for this effort.

To get that answer, you need to look to your company’s personas and if you don’t have any – create them. Personas are a powerful tool that helps drive every aspect of a marketing effort, from tone of voice to media to message.

When it comes to creating content with the goal of attracting your best prospects – it only stands to reason that you’d want a very detailed picture of who those prospects are.  One of the reasons most companies blather on about themselves on their blog or social networks is because they have no idea who they’re talking to. Once they get their personas very clear in their minds – planning the content becomes simple. And it’s rarely narcissistic again.

Now that you’ve identified why you’re implementing a content marketing program and who you’re targeting, the next step is to build your hub or the center of all of your efforts. This hub is the mother ship – where all efforts lead back to and it should reside on a platform that the company has 100% control over.  That means it is not Pinterest, Facebook, LinkedIn or any other 3rd party owned site. It needs to exist on your own website or blog. It should be the container in which all of your original content is stored and offered up to visitors.

After the hub is established, the spokes can be added.  A spoke is any activity or effort that drives people back to the hub for some reason. These will include both on and offline activities ranging from speaking at the Rotary meeting to offering your free ebook from your Facebook or Twitter platform.

Many companies start off strong.  Enthusiasm is high and everyone’s ready to contribute.  But as client work piles on, it’s easy to dismiss your internal efforts as optional.  Deadlines start being overlooked and before you know it, you have cobwebs.

But there’s a cure and we’ll dig into how to effectively create and maintain content flow next week.

The post Making content part of your marketing mix appeared first on Drew's Marketing Minute.

Making content part of your marketing mix

The Chris Linder Thought You Might Be Interested… http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/TheMarketingMinute/~3/xtaJ-L5MjwU/content.html

ContentPick up any business magazine, read a marketing blog or attend a conference and you’re going to get the message that you must have a content strategy.  Truth be told – this is nothing new. There’s always been a marketing strategy that emphasized the production of helpful tools/information that taught prospects something of value to earn their trust and a thought leadership position.

What is “new” today is that every company has the capacity to be a publisher and information portal via their own website, blog, social networking pages etc. It used to be difficult and expensive to do and today, it’s neither.

In fact, most companies already have the distribution channels (Facebook page, Twitter account, website, e-newsletter, etc.) in place.  They just do a lousy job of using the tools at hand. For most businesses, these channels don’t get very much attention and they either languish from lack of relevant content or even worse, they become a brag book for their own accomplishments, awards, clients won, etc.  They’re either dormant or so narcissistic that no one pays any attention and really, who can blame them?

Before you can determine what kind of team or structure you’d need internally, you need to decide if you should even be creating content (my bias is yes, but it’s still a discussion that needs to be held) and if so – why?  What are the business outcomes that are driving the decision?  When done well, content marketing can drive qualified leads, shorten the sales cycle, generate new and repeat sales, reinforce a current client’s buying decision and create PR opportunities, just to name a few outcomes.

Once you’re clear about what you’re trying to accomplish, you need to identify your audience for this effort.

To get that answer, you need to look to your company’s personas and if you don’t have any – create them. Personas are a powerful tool that helps drive every aspect of a marketing effort, from tone of voice to media to message.

When it comes to creating content with the goal of attracting your best prospects – it only stands to reason that you’d want a very detailed picture of who those prospects are.  One of the reasons most companies blather on about themselves on their blog or social networks is because they have no idea who they’re talking to. Once they get their personas very clear in their minds – planning the content becomes simple. And it’s rarely narcissistic again.

Now that you’ve identified why you’re implementing a content marketing program and who you’re targeting, the next step is to build your hub or the center of all of your efforts. This hub is the mother ship – where all efforts lead back to and it should reside on a platform that the company has 100% control over.  That means it is not Pinterest, Facebook, LinkedIn or any other 3rd party owned site. It needs to exist on your own website or blog. It should be the container in which all of your original content is stored and offered up to visitors.

After the hub is established, the spokes can be added.  A spoke is any activity or effort that drives people back to the hub for some reason. These will include both on and offline activities ranging from speaking at the Rotary meeting to offering your free ebook from your Facebook or Twitter platform.

Many companies start off strong.  Enthusiasm is high and everyone’s ready to contribute.  But as client work piles on, it’s easy to dismiss your internal efforts as optional.  Deadlines start being overlooked and before you know it, you have cobwebs.

But there’s a cure and we’ll dig into how to effectively create and maintain content flow next week.

The post Making content part of your marketing mix appeared first on Drew's Marketing Minute.