MCP001 - Getting Started In Business Online or Offline

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I would like to welcome you to the first episode of the Marketing Club podcast. The Marketing Club is a new training site for small business owners to learn how to market their business. In this session I speak about the tools and software which will help you get started in business. The first few podcast sessions will cover topics like:

  • how to get started,
  • software and service you can use on a budget.
  • how to get a phone number
  • business address (cheaply but still give a professional look for your business)
  • what accounting software to use
  • which document and spreadsheet software
  • buying domain names
  • list building
  • bank accounts
  • and much more...

If you already have a business you may learn about tools which you have not heard of but future episodes will be more beneficial to you when we start looking at marketing strategies, lead generation, blogging and more. Please subscribe on iTunes to get  each session automatically downloaded to your computer of smart phone.

Listen here:

 

Services mentioned in this podcast include:

Questions and feedback? Leave me a voicemail!

As always your feedback means a lot. If you have questions or want to leave any constructive criticism then visit my voicemail page.  I will answer all questions on the next episode.

Please take a moment to leave any feedback over on iTunes your feedback and ratings will help the Marketing Club Podcast so my aim is to get 100 5-Star ratings before Christmas!

Thank You!

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank a friend Gavin McCoy for his excellent voiceover used in my introduction.

5 Steps To Marketing

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If you sell products or services online you absolutely must have your "base" setup. Your base, your hub, your HQ, your home, your blog, your platform whatever you want to call it! Get it finished before you promote.

Your base is where you can build your audience and boost yourself into the web using the power of user base promotion.

Some people start online by setting up Facebook and Twitter accounts as they know people are already there promoting themselves. They begin sharing content, posting affiliate links but get nothing back in return. Have you done this?

Marketing on the Internet is NOT about having a Twitter account and Facebook page.

It IS about being everywhere you possibly can and sharing useful information with your target market.

There's lots of noise out on the web and if you don't provide anything of value then people simply won't notice you.

If you don' have a base or any structure here's what you need to do.

1. Setup a base!

Setup either a blog, Google+, fan page, tumblr page, Wordpress.com blog. By base I mean somewhere you use as home. Somewhere where people can find you all the time.It makes sense to have a website or blog as your base but that doesn't mean you can't use Google+ as your base (or even Facebook) as long as your followers know where to find you.

2. Content

Have some useful information about your services or products on your base. Share content your followers want or produce content which will help them learn.

Try and produce consistent amounts of content which your audience can soak up. Don't be worried about giving away the good stuff. Write great content for your niche and publish consistently.

3. Products

In most cases you will sell products or services so it makes sense to sell them from your base. Get your products finished and loaded onto your base and make them easy to find.

Again having a blog makes it easier to add multiple pages which you use to sell your products. You may find this a little harder if you are using Facebook for example. There's no real place to showcase your services on a fan page.

4. Capture them!

Setup a lead capture process using Aweber (or another service) and give away a great products to attract leads. It could be a free video course or a free report as long as it has value. Free reports and training videos are the most common.

5. Share

Lastly get your Social Media profiles setup so you can start sharing all the great content you produced in step 2!

Why Social Media last?

Simple, because you are about to embark on a content marketing journey. Once you have great content to share you can start attracting people to your base.

Remember your base has to stand out amongst hundred of millions of sites which are already growing an audience.

Next Your Marketing Strategy

  • Write great content and share it within your Social Media accounts.The more useful your content the more people read it. The plan is to get people back to your base, read your content and take your free offer and gain a new subscribers.
  • Next they share it with their followers and you get more new visitors to your site.
  • Simply repeat the process of writing great content and sharing.

I know it's not that simple but it does work and over time you will see steady growth.

Always try and get people back to your base where they can see your own products and courses.

Adding Revenue Streams To Your Business

Every business is looking for ways to add additional income to their current revenue streams. Most business owners make this process complicated. Rather than looking at what they can adapt, add-on or change they look at new products or services they can sell. Adding a new product is not always the way to go. Making changes to how existing products are delivered can sometimes return greater revenue than the original product did.

Making changes to your product types can appeal to your existing customers in ways the original product never did. It's a bit like repackaging your content into different formats.

Ask yourself this question:

"Can I make my existing product easier to use and deliver to the customer?"

I'll give you an example.

The nursery where my 2-year-old son goes during the week have morning singing time. Over the last few months my son has started singing some of the songs and for us as parents we would love to sing along with him. Like other parents, if you don't know the songs you feel left out or a little helpless as you can't encourage more singing.

Then your child looks at you wondering why you are not continuing the songs he/she have been singing all morning. Their smile fades and that's when you know you have to learn those songs.

The next thing you do is go online and see if there's YouTube video where you can learn the words and more importantly the rhyme. The rhyme is the key part here, it is for me.

The Product

Since day one of him attending nursery we were told they have a song book for sale which costs £4. When he started nursery he wasn't singing so the song book wasn't on the agenda. After a little searching online you can find words to most of the nursery rhymes so the book loses its value.

Now you have a product with not much value.

It's great to see the nursery offer a song book, here are some benefits:

  • It's another revenue stream.
  • It can be produced fairly cheaply using print on demand.
  • It's low-cost!
  • Requires no shipping!
  • Sold in the nursery.

Excellent a product! Easy to deliver, little or no support. It's related to their niche!

The Problem

A song book for Dad's like me doesn't cut it. I want more. I want to know how the rhyme goes! I can't find everything on YouTube.

While I'm excited to see they offer a book, I'm disappointed (being a product developer) that they don't offer a music CD or digital version.

Don't laugh! It's so easy to record a group of people singing using modern technology it's an excuse to not try it. Can you see where I'm going with this?

The Solution

This is what I would do.

Record the staff singing all the nursery rhymes and you now have a new product which can be delivered in the 21st century. Have the staff sign a performance rights agreement giving you permission to sell the recording.

The new product is the audio version of the book. Even if you can't get all the staff together you could record the songs with one person singing. This product is for parents and child to enjoy together. They can learn the rhyme as well as the words. It doesn't have to be amazing iTunes edited, award-winning quality. Make it fun and deliver a good simple product.

The singing is recorded in MP3 format, burned to disk and sold. The parents would then put the disc in their computer or download the files online.

One advantage of being in a nursery is that some of the parents may have the skills you need to produce this kind of product, keep that in mind.

Here are some other advantages:

  • Can be recorded easily on iPhone, PC or Mac to .mp3 format.
  • Can be recorded easily at low-cost by a professional (possible parent).
  • Sell it in the nursery.
  • Sell it online.
  • Delivered digitally online via download (zero cost).
  • Promoted easily in monthly email newsletter.
  • Duplicated easily on disc (most computers have a CD Burner) or by a company.

Again, this product does not have to be awarding winning quality! If my nursery offered me an mp3 file I could buy and listen to on my phone I would purchase it without thinking. It's a no brainer.

Listen to the songs and learn the words with the rhyme.

The Product

OK i know, It's easy to write ideas like this but there is some work involved.

If I was to take this project on I would put together a short proposal explaining the product, the advantages and then give a fixed price for doing the work.

If you own a nursery and want to take on this project, do the following:

  • Record some audio on the iPhone and test quality. This will be the hardest part. Lots of testing to check quality.
  • Find a duplication company and get quotes (optional) .
  • Look for a designer who could produce a cover for you.
  • Setup online payment on your website (PayPal or Merchant Account).
  • Setup online delivery using E-junkie (works with PayPal).

If you wanted discs in cases then get a nice cover designed it can add a more professional look to the product. Having a CD for the customer to take away does have perceived value so the disc should look nice. To save on costs you don't need a fancy CD case just a standard plastic clear case. The customer will probably copy the files to their computer and bin the disc. Try and encourage the customer to take the digital version.

You can purchase disc printers or disc label stickers from most stationary shops if you decide to go the route of printing the discs in-house but for about £40 you could get 50 inkjet printed CD's delivered to you.

One of the advantages of using E-junkie to deliver the files is the ability to also email a download link to the customer after purchase. The sale doesn't have to be online and you can still send them a secure link to download the audio files. You can even limit the amount of times they can download it to avoid sharing.

You could also price differently for the digital version. The digital version cost you nothing to deliver. To encourage sales offer a slightly reduced price to that of the CD

  • CD - £5
  • Digital MP3 - £4

Why I Like This

The main reason I like this product is because it's NOT about making a product to generate revenue. It's being created for the users benefit and selling the product will add revenue anyway.

I'm not saying this idea will generate huge returns but hopefully inspire you to try changing an existing product range.

Food For Thought

I hope you can get some ideas from this article. There are always ways to repackage your existing products and deliver them in another format.

Will I take on this project? Not right now, I may sell the idea to the nursery and see if they come back to me wanting more information but right now I don't have the time to work on this project.

Your Feedback

If you are stuck for product ideas then comment below and we will throw some your way.

If you have repackaged any of your own products then please share your stories.

What You Need To Start A Business Online Or Offline

Here's a short list of basic tools, software, services and accounts you need to start building any business from scratch online or offline. The list will grow over time as I find new services or tools but for now it's a start for anyone looking to building a business on a limited budget.

Obviously we assume you have a product or service to sell and the next step is to start setting up your company and building an audience. If you don't have an audience yet, our future articles we will help you seek out new clients and tell you where to find them in your niche.

One thing we advise in business is you can start off using free services until your business grows enough and you need to use a paid service. An example would be accounting software. When you start out in business do not need to pay for expensive invoicing software when there are free versions available.

Once you scale up your business and get more clients you may find the free accounting software is not suitable and has limitations. Now your business has some cash flow you can look at paying for an upgraded version of the free software. The paid version will have more features and may integrate with services you already use.

I think you get the idea. You don't need to buy tools or software just because you are starting a business. Your first goal is to get clients, make sales, growing your client base and making contacts. Don't waste money on office space just because you started a business.

This doesn't mean just use services or software because they are free. You will have to spend some money at some point so do your research before you but something or check back to our blog. We will show you all the tools you need and how to use them.

To Get Started

  1. A Company name LTd or LLC. Form a limited company with GoLimited
  2. Business Bank Account
  3. Business Paypal Account
  4. Accounting/Invoicing Software free or paid
  5. Domain name
  6. Hosting account
  7. A website using WordPress
  8. Skype account
  9. Skype In Number and Call Forwarding
  10. Aweber email software for list building and promotion
  11. Google Docs (Google Account)
  12. Open Office (If you don't want Google Docs)
  13. Google Drive account or Dropbox

Physical Items

  1. Computer/Laptop
  2. iPad (Also used as a video camera recording in HD)
  3. Smart phone
  4. Furniture, equipment or accessories to deliver your work/service e.g massage bench, photography lights, hairdresser kits.

Stop thinking about starting a business and actually start it!

There are some very obvious items not added here but the list above is all you need to get started running a business online of offline.

I will be adding to the list and linking related items above with reviews and articles on the item I used.

If you don't have a product to sell yet then you may want to consider selling a service. We all have skills that other people would pay for.

Wrap Your Knowledge Into A Service

Look at what you already know. Look at what you already do. If you are working in a large company and want to break away to work for yourself, look at ways you can wrap your knowledge into a consulting service.

Look at all the skills you already have like formatting documents, spreadsheets, presentations. Maybe you manage projects within your company and have a system which you structure each project around.

Maybe you hate your job and would love to be working in your hobby.

Looks for ways you can turn your passion into a business there are opportunities in every niche.

5GB free storage backup your WordPress site

When you backup your WordPress site files you can now store them online in a Google Drive account. No excuse for losing data.

I backup my sites each week and now I can store all the files in my Google Drive account and synch the Drive across multiple computers.

Google Drive gives you 5GB of FREE storage. See the video explaining what Google Drive is.

I run a backup program on each of my sites which produces a small file I can download. I then store those files in my Drive online and Amazon S3 account.

Go and setup a free Drive acocunt here: Google Drive and start backing up your important files, family photos, PDF's and other files of importance.

Don't wait another day to make a backup of your files. Get in the habit of making backups regularly especially of family photos.

Don't be fooled by Google's personal search results

My site ranks on page 1 of Google, I just checked it. No it doesn't, the search term you are typing has millions of competitors and your own web site doesn't even have keywords in the title. That was my thought after speaking with a client when reviewing their site.

Another site to check rankings through private browsing is Starting Page.

If you know of any tools which do the same please share them. Scroogle was an excellent tool for this but it was recently shut down. We'll see how long Starting Page stays with us.

How To Convert GoToWebinar WMV for Camtasia and YouTube

Here's a video showing how you convert your GoToWebinar WMV file to a friendly format for rendering to MP4 from Camtasia. Thanks to Glenndcitrix who coded a batch file here which removes the GoToWebinar Codec allowing you to import the WMV into Camtasia and then render to MP4.

1. Download the batch convertor 2. Unzip the convertor 3. Copy your raw .WMV GoToWebinar recording to the same folder as the batch file 4. Open GoToWebinar and get your build number 5. Drag your .WMV file onto the the batch file and a command window will pop up 6. Enter your build number and press enter

Once it's complete the file will stay in the same folder and retain the same file name.

7. Download and open Handbrake software and find the .WMV source file 8. Set Handbrake to output the file, web optimized and keep the size the same. 9. A H.264 MP4 file will be produced.

The WMV file produced after running it through the batch file will also work for uploading directly to YouTube.

This video shows exactly how it's done.

Simple WordPress shopping cart plugin review

If you would like to transform your WordPress blog into a shop or you just want to sell some physical and download products this video shows you how easy it can be done. A few simple clicks and you can have a fully functioning shopping cart on your site which integrates with Paypal. I installed the plugin on this site so I can sell my most popular WordPress Services. The plugin is called Cart66 the Lite version.

What shopping cart plugin are you using on your WordPress sites?